Live the Questions

When I finally sat down to write a blog post last week after my uber-long hiatus, I started to write merely to get the gears spinning, to write anything, to get back in the blogging saddle. Once I started typing, sharing my story really became a catharsis; at first, a chance for me to explain where I’ve been these past months to whomever read the post. While not aware of it in the moment, I realize now that the act morphed into a chance to explain these things to myself.

This works out rather nicely. See, once in a while, I think everyone can use a good talking to, you know, self to self.

In that last post, the thing that strikes me is the desire to explore my truth, to figure out and make the most of my place in this life. And it’s helped me acknowledge that despite believing in recent years that I’ve looked my demons in the eye, so to speak, the recent struggles during my transition coming back to the States shows me that I’ve still got work ahead, questions that remain unanswered.

And I believe that is ok. We’re on different paths, different souls living these wacky, diverse human journeys, all just trying to find a proper path. So, how do I find my road? How do any of us?

I first started asking myself a minor version of these questions in my early 20s when I was introduced to this quote from “The Fountainhead”:

“I have, let’s say, 60 years to live. Most of that time will be spent working. I’ve chosen the work I want to do. If I find no joy in it, then I’m only condemning myself to 60 years of torture. And I can find the joy only if I do my work in the best way possible to me. But the best is a matter of standards—and I set my own standards. I inherit nothing. I stand at the end of no tradition. I may, perhaps, stand at the beginning of one.”

I loved the notion that “I set my own standards.” But the next gigantic questions I encountered were the perpetually nagging ones — and ones I dwell on EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. What exactly ARE my standards? What specifically do I want? What is this new tradition on whose precipice I stand?

Some days I have really specific answers to these questions, sometimes the answers arrive just for a flash then tumble into muddled uncertainty, other times I feel like the answer is so close — just inches around some bend I can’t quite see beyond. This did unsettle me, it STILL unsettles me, though I’ve come to a better acceptance and peace with not forcing the answers, but living them — or at least trying my damndest to do so. For this I thank Rainer Maria Rilke:

“I beg you … have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

At the end of the day, or the blog post, as it so happens, that’s what I’ll do — what we are all able to do, if we’re willing.

Start. Have a good, honest self-to-self chat. Look at your questions, even if they scare you. Then live the living daylights out of them.


  1. Val ~ this was so beautiful. And at a time in my life when I have so many unanswered questions and have to remind myself that simply living in the unknown is all any of us can ~ this was so comforting! xoxo

    • Valerie Conners says:

      ah, I hear you loud and clear – we have to embrace the questions – otherwise, oof – we’ll just keep resisting and that’s not good either!

  2. Beth Zawodniak says:

    val–thanks for sharing…very thought-provoking and comforting to read as a fellow, perpetual questioner. Someone recently challenged me to think about the question, “what would i do if i were not afrad?” which has prompted me to identify many of my fears.

    • Valerie Conners says:

      I’m so glad you related to it! I think a lot of people all face the same or similar questions, and it’s just a matter of choosing to seek answers or look at the tough stuff rather than blow it off – that’s the challenge, eh? GOOD for you – that’s not easy and you should be so proud you’re doing it!!

  3. I love this blog entry. One of my favorites so far. I feel you, and I’m there with you. Most people don’t have the courage or open enough of a mind to explore the dark caverns of unexplored territory in their hearts and heads. That’s exactly what your doing and what I try and give myself courage to do every day. Dope blog entry. Dope cuz.

    • Valerie Conners says:

      Aw Justin – thanks so much for your comment. I’m so glad to be a black sheep with you 😉 love you to the moon!

  4. Wow, love your openness and honesty in reflecting on the questions that remain unanswered in your life. I can relate to so much of what you wrote – and the Rainer Maria Rilke quote moved me so very much (adding that to my list of favorites). I’m learning patience more and more along with the very hard task of letting go. Thanks for sharing this – I look forward to reading more as your journey continues!

    • Valerie Conners says:

      Erin – I’m so glad you wrote and that you found the Rilke quote as inspiring as I do. That one has really helped me wrap my head around loads of stuff over the years – now its yours to share!