The unknown

One of my greatest fears as a kid was the dark.

I was afraid because I couldn’t see anything, letting my imagination run wild from all the horror films and stories I would bathe myself in. Sleeping alone at night would be difficult for me, urging myself to leave the door open and the night light on to shake off the fear.

Everyone had fears when they were younger. Some had a fear of heights, a fear of clowns, or a fear of spiders. Yes, we can get over our fears, but some of them can come creeping back to us—becoming the reality we face now as adults.

Today, I realized that maybe, I wasn’t actually afraid of the dark; I was afraid of whatever was in it, whatever was coming next, and whether I was ready for that. It wasn’t the darkness itself, but the unknown that it harbors. And being much older, this fear may have developed into another kind of unknown: the unknown that is the future. All along, I have been afraid of the dark because I couldn’t see anything—similar to how, when thinking beyond the present, we can never be sure to know what will happen next, and that’s what terrifies me the most.

During our developing years as adults, we are faced with a lot of figuring out to do: figuring out our career paths, our choice of residence, our possible retirement plans, and so on. In a time where we feel lost and confused, we are left wondering which direction to take. Everything is a blur. There’s a great amount of pressure at this point, as the next few steps we will take may define our future.

“Would I ever make it?” A question that we dread, but can’t help but ask as we face another stage in our life that is unknown. But then again, the future is something we cannot avoid. We can’t fault ourselves for being scared of it, but it shouldn’t hinder us from moving forward.

A lot of people struggle to live their dreams because they instead live in fear. Most people are scared of the unknown because they worry about it before it even happens. They are terrified of failing, of disappointing themselves and those around them, and of starting all over again. However, we should instead adopt the mindset that failure only means one has learned and that one can do better next time. We have no choice but to try again.

The unknown can represent different things for different people, and can also vary across different stages of one’s life. Right now, the unknown for me is my growing anxiety as a college student looking at the real world, wondering what awaits when I step out of the familiar vicinity of Taft Ave. After college, we are presented with many doors and opportunities. I took a Liberal Arts-Commerce double degree program for Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts and Bachelor of Science in Advertising Management. This has opened a lot of opportunities for me, having a lot of career choices I can take. I can choose to be in an advertising agency or take my chances in the film industry—both tracks I know I love. Yet, with multiple career options ahead of me, there is still this fear of uncertainty regarding which path would really be best for me.

Facing one’s fears will never be an easy task, but we should be cognizant that life often will not wait for us to learn to get over our worries and fears. We can be scared or excited, unprepared or ready. In the end, we can choose to shy away from our fears, or we can choose to move forward in spite of them; the bravery then comes not from getting rid of our fears, but from facing the uncertainty head on.

Eliza Santos

By Eliza Santos

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