It all started when I thought I knew everything. I was roughly 8 years old I think. I had decided that I would do everything better than my parents did, live a fun and exciting life, make the kind of decisions that would really get me somewhere. I would sit and make all of these elaborate plans of how I would succeed at this or that. Maybe I’d become an astronaut or a pilot. Maybe I would become a reporter, an adventurer, a wandering minstrel. I would also sit and think about all of the ways I would avoid making the kind of mistakes that other people made, and how I would never fall into the same mistakes or situations as they did. Because I had a plan, I had it all figured out.
Then I systematically began to make just about every mistake I had ever witnessed other people make, much to my dismay. The more I tried to be do everything right, the more life threw at me situations that made me question everything. The more concrete the plan, the more doors slammed, the more everything crumbled beneath me. Until I had made more mistakes than just about anyone I could think of, and watched my goals and aspirations fall into oblivion. In desperation, loneliness and confusion, I realized that everything I thought I knew was wrong.
And ironically, it was when I realized that everything I thought I knew was wrong, things started to come together. I realized what I really wanted to do with my life, and where I had been going wrong. It was around this time that opportunities presented themselves to me, easily and effortlessly.
Lately I have been reading the news. Reading about controversial situations like religion, politics and racial tension. And below the article, I see the thousands of comments people leave, thousands of people who think they have it all figured out. Blanket statements, black and white statements, people drawing lines in the sand. Making statements that are fun to make, you know, the kind of statements that make you feel like you have it all figured out and the other people are idiots. Of course, I wrote a couple of comments myself, feeling rather proud of myself, I must add.
A lot of people thinking they know everything, people like me. Making mistakes they thought they would never make, standing for things at the expense of others-judging the people on the other side of the fence.
I like to think that when we are all old, and have watched our ideals crumble, our sure-fire plans fizzle, our black-and-white convictions fade to shades of grey, that we can all sit on our rocking chairs and bask in the wonder that children do. Back to the place where you knew for a fact there was still so much to learn, so many things left to discover.