There are some decisions you make in life that you don’t have the answer for, and that is ok. There are some things you can’t explain because you don’t know.
The question why is one that can stump me at times. I feel that I should
have the answer when I am asked “why did you do that”? I mean, I am claim to be an educated adult. I have been an educator, a supervisor, manager, and director. I have run the day to day operations of large social service programs and women’s health programs. I have been in charge of multi million dollar budgets, and have been responsible for hundreds of personnel and thousands of clients. I can make executive decisions that can be rationally and reasonably explained down to the smallest detail, yet in my personal life, the question why gets me every time.
When we are asked the question why, we take it as a personal affront and challenge. How dare you ask me why I did something. Do I look like a total idiot. Do you feel the need to question me? I make hundreds of decisions and choices each and everyday. Why are you questioning me about this one?
More than a personal challenge, the real reason may be as simple as I really don’t know why. The words I don’t know often is considered a sign of lack of knowledge. A signal that there is some sort of ignorance that the person may have. The words I don’t know is a sign of weakness, shows that you are dumb, shows that you are less than the person that people think you are. It goes against all the characteristics of a normally intelligent person. The confidence of what I say and do has been compromised.
And yet, there are times, when I look back over my life, that I have no other answer than I don’t know. Why did you stay married as long as you did? I don’t know. Why did you quit that job? I don’t know. Why is she still your friend? I don’t know. Why are you where you are in life? I don’t know. Why don’t you just get up and leave? I don’t know. Why? Why? Why? There are many I don’t knows in my life. Some of those I don’t knows that question the very heart of who I say I am. I don’t know why I stayed in that horrendous marriage? I don’t know why I married him in the first place. I don’t know why I decided to move. I have no stinking idea why I do some of the things I do.
I have come to realize there are some good reasons to answer I don’t know. First, I don’t know does not mean that I did not think about it. Sometimes there are gut feelings that compel me to make the choices I have made. It has no rhyme or reason, but it just feels that it is the way to go. Some would say that it is The Lord telling me what to do…I don’t know, maybe it is, but there are times I just go with that. I don’t know does not mean that I don’t know, it just may mean that I do know, but I don’t want to share that process with you. My I don’t knows then becomes an exit strategy to just get you out of my hair. I don’t know can also be a way of postponement of a more major decision, it is a stall tactic. I have been questioned about a decision that I really have not made yet, and so I don’t know is part of buying time till I make up my mind.
I have finally come to the conclusion that I don’t know is an acceptable answer. It can stand alone without any explanation. It is ok not to know. It does not make me less of a person. It has nothing to do with future decision making skills. I don’t know in some instances is the best answer to the question why, because not everyone needs to know my thought process. It provides a safety fence when others intentions may not the best for you, trying to force a decision from you on their timetable, not yours. I don’t know is in many cases better than those well thought out answers that only make sense to me.
So when someone asks me why I did something, or made that choice, I can look at them and say, I don’t know, and turn and walk away. I don’t always have to explain myself, and when I don’t, I can choose not to. Why? I don’t know…