Starting Over & the Power of “I Don’t Know”

Anyone who comes out later in life understands what an immense change it is to publicly “switch teams,” as they say. You have a history as “the straight person,” that’s how friends and family know you, and that’s how you’ve presented yourself to the world for 20, 30, or 40 some odd years.

Coming out and claiming your new identity is, indeed in some ways, a fresh start. Many people report feeling happier than ever after they shed their old identity and begin deliberately creating this new one.

But there are usually more questions than answers at this point: will my old friends stick by me? Will I make new friends? If so, where will I find them? How do I start dating? What are the unspoken “rules” I need to follow in this new world? How should I dress, act, talk, etc.? Should I still carry a purse or not? (Seriously, this was one thing I got stuck on during my coming out process–I’m laughing now remembering it!).

This is where the power of “I don’t know” comes into play. In order to get from your old identity to your new one, you have to be willing to walk the bridge of “I don’t know.”

Will your friends stick by you?  There’s no way to know until you start being honest with them. Will you make new friends? You won’t know until you try. Will you ever find the right girl who will accept you just as you are? No way to know for sure until you take those first steps into the dating pool.

See, the power of “I don’t know” is the power of possibility. When you think that you know everything and have everything nailed down, there’s no room for growth. But when you are willing to open up that closet door a bit–open up to the possibility of the unknown–that is when you’ll create the space for something different in your life.

Try it today: say “I don’t know” when someone asks you about your future plans. Tell yourself “it’s okay not to know” when you are obsessively worrying over some aspect of your coming out journey.

Find the power in not knowing. Trust that the way will light up ahead of you when you need it. Let go of your old identity in order to make room for your new one!

Leave me a comment about your experiences and thoughts about starting over and not knowing. I’d love to hear from you!

7 thoughts on “Starting Over & the Power of “I Don’t Know”

    1. Hanging out in the “I don’t know” place is okay–notice what your thoughts and feelings are while you are in this place. They are powerful indicators for what’s next on your path, I believe. Sometimes, it’s just enough to stay centered and breathe, too. One day at a time!

  1. Steve M

    You cross the bridge of “I don’t kniw”” and realize many already knew. You feel foolish because you weren’t as good of an illusionist as you thought -those wasted years. Thanks for writing this. It’s my story too.

  2. Rachel

    What a beautiful way to describe the first stepping stone for change of any sort. As soon as you can admit that you need to leave where you are, “I don’t know” is a fine place to go and look around. You will soon find that you are not alone there.

  3. Anonymous

    I went through a late life change as well…divorce and starting over. “I don’t know” is VERY difficult for me. It’s a lack of control. It’s uncomfortable. I think it’s a lesson I needed.

    1. A lot of women coming out later in life are also going through divorces, so I think that it’s natural that this post would speak to you. Yes, the “I don’t know” place is difficult for everyone–we like certainty and we crave the knowing! But if we can open up to that place of not knowing–even a tiny bit–it really can help. Stay with the uncomfortableness as long as you can, I think you’ll find it changing over time. Good luck and be kind to yourself during this transition!

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