Coping With Fear and Uncertainty

Fear is a condition of life that we all experience. Real fear can lead to all kinds of anxieties, stresses, depression and other issues. Fear can immobilize an individual so they can no longer function. It can ruin your life and crush your dreams.
The key is learning to manage fear. In my new novel “The Illusion of Certainty” the characters cope with unforeseen events which seem to come out of nowhere.
In a bygone time there was certainty regarding your career, your job stability and plans for the future. If an individual worked hard and was a good employee at work, there was a good chance they could be there for life.
 There were certain things that could be assumed. Those assumptions were the underpinning of your life. An employee could reasonably expect that income would steadily increase each year, the stock market would provide a steady rate of return which would provide opportunity for home ownership, college education for your children, annual vacations and eventually, a comfortable retirement.
 Those assumptions seem to be relics of the 20th Century.
Now most employees work 10-12 hour days and are married to their job. Wild swings in economic fortunes continue to trouble us all and there is no certainty for our futures.
 The economic angst is just one of the uncertainties faced by characters in my new novel, “The Illusion of Certainty.”
I tried to show the human impact of the nationwide economic downturn and how someone’s life can suddenly go into a downward spiral once uncertainty enters their life.
In “The Illusion of Certainty” the characters are coping with losses that largely reflect those of Americans today, dealing with shifting social values, issues of the modern family, the flailing economy, unemployment, and the shattering of our illusions of certainty.
Although his characters go through many hard times, ultimately, they offer readers an important message about moving on and rebuilding after loss, reminding them that it is possible.
One of the main characters in the book, Marc, loses his illusions of certainty twice: the first time when he discovers his wife’s infidelity, destroying his illusions of certainty about his marriage and family, the second time when his job is “excessed” after the subprime mortgage crisis, treating his team as excess spending rather than people.
When Marc meets with his former team member, Samantha, who has suffered greatly herself, finding a job only to be informed the next day that her husband has been excessed, leaving them with one job once again, she offers him an important message about moving on. Samantha urges Marc to “snap out of it” and rebuild his life; “I think you need to snap out of it. You’ve been beat down, Marc. You’ve lost your wife and lost your job. That sucks. You’re wife is a lying skank and you worked for a heartless corporation. But, Marc, it’s time to get up off the mat!”
Samantha reminds Marc that we can “take action or be acted upon” and encourages him to take a trip that has the potential to change his outlook on life, to “do a reboot” and then “come back and kick some butt…Right now you have a big problem. It’s time to fix yourself! Use all of the talents you have and remake yourself.”
Many Americans have become disheartened by the economic situation and fall into cycles of self-fulfilling prophecies of failure, too discouraged to do something bold or be proactive in securing a new career. Just as Marc changed his life with some encouragement, readers will find that they, too, can enact the change that they desire in their own lives through the encouragement.
There are no promises that it will be easy. We will have to adapt and change and reinvent ourselves several times in the course of a career.
The key theme in my book is that “the only certainty is life is uncertainty.”


About gregmessel

I've written six novels and am working on a seventh. My first three novels were "Expiation," "Sunbreaks" and "The Illusion of Certainty." I'm now working on a series of mysteries set in San Francisco in the 1950s. In 2008, I retired from corporate life and so I can spend more time writing. I spent over ten years in the newspaper business. I now live on Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, just north of downtown Seattle.
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