One of my favorite expressions has become “So what.”
It’s quite funny yet significant for me because I can be one of the least indifferent people I know. It’s not that I care what others think – it’s that I’m not always good with uncertainty and whether I’m making the best use of my time right now. I’m only twenty-three which means that I’ve not wasted years worrying about things which are pointless to worry about, like becoming well-off and starting an actual career – you know, in which you become “an important part of the team.” (I still sometimes feel like a sixteen-year-old who just wants to learn French because “it sounds cool and elegant and enables me to go to the historical Paris to order un café avec un pain au chocolat.” Mind, this is the younger me’s voice.) Nevertheless, I can very much be one of those who thinks a lot of the outcome of things, the final composition, or the destination—what happens in the end. Then again, so what?
This can become weirdly stressful. The mind becomes exhausted and when the mind is weary, it becomes somewhat difficult for it to create and manage plans for the present, as in those mental paths and pictures that give a clear meaning to what you’re doing now—whether it’s trying to read classic novels for mere interest, learning to bake those pain au chocolats or truly engaging in a hobby and properly digging into what you’re studying in your university classes (at least in your favorite ones if this is a bad example). Or, if it’s not difficult and you’re able to engage in these, do you ever stop to think whether you’re truly taking in the experience and gaining something from it, or making the best use of it? This might be a futile thought, dear reader, however I find myself thinking like this often. I used to stress easily and was quite an anxious person who, I noticed, became very impatient with everything. Sometimes I feel as if “Expectations” and “Future Plans” and their awful sister “Anxiousness” stand behind me, ruining the present moment by looking over my shoulders at what I’m doing and then giving me a look that asks “Is everything planned out? Are you ready even for the uncertain next week?” No and maybe. But then, there’s the beauty of “So what.”
Now, I’ve always assumed nothing is certain and that results do not always matter, while, of course, if you truly want something, you must work hard for it. Coming to these general conclusions can be hard, however – as I said I can be the least unconcerned person I know. My attitude shifted, though, when I accepted the uncertainty of both the near and farther future and saw the beauty in thinking of only “today” in which I’ll try to do the best I can with the energy that I have. It took a while since an unclear future inevitably brings doubts. I’m still not certain about anything and I have been insecure about my skills and knowledge of things (as a student, for instance) – but now, I keep thinking “so what?” With me, the beauty of this expression lies in taking it seriously. No, this wasn’t a grand moment of sudden realization, certainly. Don’t worry, I’m not getting into the “self-help” business. It’s become a good, delightful expression that I try to keep in the back of my mind which reminds me of the futility of worry and temporary problems. “I’m at this point, aren’t I,” I think, while trying to accept uncertainty not only as a terrifying but also as an exciting thing. (Not hugely exciting, I assure you; I can’t be one of those people.)
So what if a person is unsure of things? In the end, it matters if one is motivated to keep going – in studies, work or other aspirations. The beauty of the expression also lies with how I see its effect when I’m stuck pondering: it’s as if the window of your mind’s stuffy, dusty room opens and all the floating dust goes out while fresh air enters and compels you to step outside for a minute – changing your perspective. For me, this has taken believing in “today” and the confidence to let go and to accept uncertainty.