Learning to let opinions adapt over time

It would be easy to call me a hypocrite. I’ve said things, even sworn by things, in the past that I no longer agree with or abide by. My opinions change sometimes, but that shouldn’t be held against me. First of all, I’m still a kid. In trying to figure myself out, I clung to ideas that seemed hopeful or inspiring. Not all of them really were. Not all of the ones I hold today will stand in five years. But more than that, I think notions and attitudes in general should be fluid. We need to accept that things are changing rapidly all around us, and that maybe sometimes new ideas are better than old ones.

As individuals, we’re encouraged to form opinions, which is great. But as people, we’re made to believe that it’s necessary to cling to and fight over our beliefs and decisions. We’re taught that uncertainty is terrifying, and that more often than not, there’s a right and a wrong to something.

Maybe it’s about loyalty. I can understand that, at least to some point. If you believed something as a kid and suddenly you’re older and the validity of that something is being challenged, it might be natural to disagree. And the old view isn’t always wrong either. Just like it isn’t always right.

The thing is that there isn’t always a right and a wrong. There’s plenty of room for compromise. A little bit of gray area isn’t a bad thing. It’s just that it’s much easier to be one thing or another instead of having to figure out how to fit in the middle ground.

Looking around and seeing the way that people hold onto ideas and sides and opinions really bothers me. Labels bother me. Politics, religion, education, and so many other things all bother me. Each of them is always trying to force us to choose and devote to one thing, one path, one goal. If we can instead step back and see even a sliver of the vast array of ideas out there instead of blindly accepting just one, we’ll be so much better off. I understand that it’s uncomfortable, but discomfort is a powerful thing.

I’m not here just to call people out. I’m one of all of us, and I just like to share my observations. I’m not at all excluding myself from the problems that I describe. My own opinions are formed but ever-shifting and honestly, it confuses me to no end. And then I have ideas and views of the world that other people have given me. I’m nineteen and I’ve spent my whole life in school…how would I know what the world is like? Sometimes the poetic quality of a thought sticks with me more than the meaning, and that leads to a lot of inner conflict. Like, regrets or no regrets? Fight for the best of everything or take life as it comes?

In the end, it’s not some worldwide change that I’d like to see. No doubt, more open minds would be wonderful, but closed minds aren’t going away. I know that. I just want to explore and challenge a few ideas. That’s all.

There’s nothing wrong with mixed opinions or being indifferent sometimes. There’s nothing wrong with strong opinions. I can turn this into a corny trail mix analogy if that’ll help. We all need a healthy mix, but the same handful of ingredients from beginning to end, from birth to death, is going to be boring. And we all know that babies’ needs are different from those of teenagers, adults, or the elderly. A few favorite ingredients may stick around from start to finish, but others will be swapped in and out as time goes on. That’s how it ought to be.

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