Weekend Reading: We Fear the Known, Not Uncertainty

This article appears as part of Casey Weade's Weekend Reading for Retirees series. Every Friday, Casey highlights four hand-picked articles on trending retirement topics and delivers them straight to your email inbox. Get on the list here.
Weekend reading fearing the known Weekend reading fearing the known
Weekend Reading

Life is full of “what-ifs”, and not knowing what’s around the bend is what might often cause you feelings of fear and stress.


The apprehension of endings: To combat uncertainty, many people try their best to simply eliminate it. How? This might include obtaining insurance policies, getting a degree for a better job, networking with people to advance your career, etc. However, a 20th century thinker referenced in this article makes an interesting point: “One is never afraid of the unknown; one is afraid of the known coming to an end.”

Accept what is known: In order to free yourself from fear, accepting the end of something is key. In fact, the real root of what we tend to be most afraid of is actually fear from the known. When we’re attached to something, we fear its end. This can include health, our career, relationships and changes in societal rules. You can get past the stress that comes with this fear, though, by learning to embrace endings. Keep in mind that nothing stays the same forever, and at the end of the day, there is no need to fear something you in fact know will happen.

Embrace, but prepare: I love the sentiment of this article and make it a point to truly embrace this thought process in my own life. However, this doesn’t mean I don’t prepare for the worst and take measures to reach my goals. We do this and we also recognize that if it doesn’t work out exactly as we planned, we will have the mental capacity to embrace the new world we find ourselves in.