I traveled to Iceland this past month, and wow — what an extraordinary place. Welcoming people, magical history, breathtaking landscapes, and no two ever the same. From sparkling glaciers to fields of lava rocks, to massive waterfalls, and so much more, I felt like a little kid discovering the world all over again.
But I’m not here to talk about how incredible Iceland is. I’m here to talk about my favorite part about being there — its unpredictable weather.
I can’t believe I’m saying this but yes, my favorite part of Iceland was its insane winter weather. In a single day, it rained, hailed, snowed, then rained some more. There were only 7 hours of daylight, the temperature was frigid, and the winds could knock you off your feet, but those moments of sunshine? So worth it.
Somewhere in between the crazy bouts of weather, I learned that Icelanders have a saying, “ÞEtta Reddast” which means “it will all work out”. Since their forecast literally changes from hour to hour, I quickly learned why this is a common saying. The Icelanders I met were never phased by the change in elements. Weathering the storm was just a part of their daily routine, and the best they could do was trust that the sun would come out eventually. I found it absolutely fascinating that the only thing guaranteed every day was unpredictability. But why? I’ve always known nothing in life is ever guaranteed, so why did it strike me so clearly now?
“Weathering the storm was just a part of their daily routine, and the best they could do was trust that the sun would come out eventually.”
Maybe it was because the constant wave of disruptions made the land feel more alive. It felt like the universe had a personality and the weather was its way of doing whatever the hell it wanted. It was one of those experiences that made me feel inexplicably small, like the lousiest speck on the earth. It was the first time I felt the true magnitude of Mother Nature and realized just how little control I have over what happens next.
The whole experience made me realize how small my day-to-day “disruptions” really are. It made me ask myself, what if I lived every day with the understanding that disruptions are my life? From that angle, are they even disruptions anymore? For Icelanders, the answer is no — it’s just another day.
But unlike the forecast in Iceland, unpredictability doesn’t smack us in the face hour to hour. Most of us have our daily routines and can stray outside the norm here and there, but it’s not life-changing. The big curve balls seem to happen out of nowhere because they’re spread out over the course of our lives. So when they do happen, they can be a real shock to the system.
When the unpredictable happens, we forget that everything is of our control. We forget that we didn’t have a say in how or when we entered the world. We forget that we don’t have the answers to why we get to be in our position, and others don’t. We’ve invested so much blood, sweat, and tears into our hopes and dreams that we feel like we own our destiny in some way. And although I believe we have the power to steer the direction of our lives, I also believe there will always be a portion of it that we can’t. I believe we’re blind to the millions of little nuances and reasons only the universe knows, and that portion of our lives dwells there too.
But when we take a step back and think about the lack of control we have, it can actually be liberating. Life is an endless game of wins and losses, rights and wrongs; promotions and layoffs, ugly diagnoses and powerful comebacks, suppressions and freedoms, and every person who enters this world is fair game. When we accept that the chance of winning is just as fair as the chance of losing, we become better at accepting even the most unpredictable, inexplicable circumstances — we accept life.
Life will always be unpredictable, but the good news is it can be as unexpectedly painful as it can be joyful. Accepting both options is what makes the difference. It’s what makes us get out of bed every day and say bring on the hail, the rain, and the snow, and let the sun shine when it will.
So thank you, Iceland. Thank you for forcing me out of my comfort zone. Thank you for showing me the wonders of nature. And thank you for making me feel so incredibly alive and lucky to be here. And if you’re not feeling so lucky these days, or in the midst of weathering a storm of your own, just remember it will all work out in the end — ÞEtta Reddast.
Meet Colts Neck native Liz Ladley, pictured below:
Liz Ladley, is a 'story-teller meets marketer' living in NYC. Working in the tech industry, Liz has a knack for breaking down complicated processes through her writing. Whether she's explaining how the latest enterprise app works or sorting through dilemmas we face in our day-to-day lives, Liz strives to bring clarity to readers through simple, practical writing. Follow her on Medium for more good reads — @ladleyliz Photo credit: Liz Ladley
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