A Guide to Coping With Uncertainty

What terminal cancer has taught me about change

Adrian Drew


At the best of times, life is crazy. It’s like a rollercoaster — up, down, and it also has the occasional corkscrew to throw you completely out of whack.

We all crave stability and security, but in reality, life never operates quite as steadily as we’d like it do. We’re always being hit by curveballs, and no matter how many plans we try and make, things always seem to get muddled up.

This time two years ago, I was finally ready to enter the world of adulthood and leave home to study in a city I loved alongside my wonderful girlfriend.

Now, I’m working freelance in my hometown. That wonderful girlfriend, still just as wonderful, has terminal cancer. And, despite all of my reservations about going to university, I’m in the process of applying to enrol next year.

Everything has changed, and it’s still changing. Mulling over this year’s events with my good friend over a coffee shop yesterday morning, he came out with the following:

‘Man, things are going to be so different in a year from now. Think about how much can change in a year — how much has changed in a year. Isn’t it exciting?’

I hummed in silence, sipped my coffee and thought about it. Everything will be different, I thought. But I’m not sure if exciting is the right word.

Life Turbulence

For me, life has been pretty turbulent recently. All of our lives get turbulent from time-to-time — even for those amongst us with stable jobs, nuclear families and expensive pension schemes.

See, when we sit and imagine our futures, we tend to think of the progression of our lives as linear. First, we’ll study here. Then we’ll apply to work there. Then we’ll get married. And then we’ll work our way up until we have enough money to move our family to Sardinia and drink sangria until we’re old and grey.

In reality, though, life never quite pans out the way we imagine it to. This past year has certainly proven that to me.

I’ve been with my fiancé for more than six years. I’d always pictured us getting married at some point in our future, moving away to study…



Adrian Drew

Owner of Mind Cafe | Let’s chat on Instagram: @adriandrew__