Questions, Answers, Learning & Earning
In a conversation with a writer friend, while talking about how our lives for the past few years have just been a little all over the place, we stumbled upon 2 quotes that put a lot of things into perspective.
Some years ask questions, and some provide the answers.
Some periods of life are for learning, and some are for earning.
Looking back, I think this makes a lot of sense. There are periods which will raise more questions than answer them. Most recently, I can think of 2020, when the pandemic first hit. It made me question a lot of things about my life, relationships, what kind of person I wanted to be & what I wanted my life to look like on a longer time frame. It forced me to re-think decisions, what & with who I was spending time on & what I wanted out of life.
The time that followed (all of 2020 & 2021) raised more questions than answers & only in the second half of 2022 did I start getting answers to some of those questions. It was a tough time, no doubt, but it was necessary because it led me to where I am today, much happier & comfortable in my choices.
These years or questions, while uncomfortable as hell, are necessary. Without them, there can be no change. For anxious people like me who love control & predictability, times like this can be supremely difficult. With our worlds upside down, being in a constant state of flux & not knowing where anything is going can be difficult to deal with but as with a lot of things, we just have to let things take their natural course of time. I’ve tried getting answers by going off on secluded holidays, cutting off from the world & just thinking about the questions that have cropped up, but it just resulted in overwhelming anxiety and more disarray than I’d started with.
Sadly, there is no path, course or handbook that you can follow to get the answers. They will come as you go along. One fine day, without knowing, you’ll be in a place where you’ll suddenly notice a pocket of calm. These might be one offs, but with time, they’ll grow. Slowly, but surely, the pockets will overtake the sea of madness.
When I think about phases of life like this, I relate this to the second quote that we stumbled upon, about periods of learning versus periods of earning. I think they somehow end up correlating (or maybe I'm just finding correlation because it's convenient). So the way that it's happened is that the years or periods of time full of questions are usually exploratory periods, times when not much is clear and I've found myself exploring a lot more than I otherwise would have. Whether in work, relationships or areas of interest, these are the times where I end up trying a lot of things, going very, very broad and just creating a lot of different things prolifically. As I work through this time of exploration and learning, it feeds into the answers that I haven't gotten yet and helps me reach clarity about what I like, what makes sense and what I don't.
I believe this period of exploration is what leads to the answers; this learning is what leads to the periods of earning. Once you have answers, you can be in execution mode, and while you'll never have ALL the answers, having just enough to get started is what it's all about.