“A Pile of Contradictions”

How my beloved high school cross country coach was described and how I strive to allow myself to be: to be content with holding contradictory beliefs at the same time; to not have everything figured out; to be O.K. with having my mind made up about something one day and changing it the next…I don’t think it’s being “wishy washy” or “noncommittal”  if you are honest the whole time about your ambivalence. Being ambivalent doesn’t mean you can’t say things, make decisions, take leaps of faith amidst the uncertainty (you almost certainly will be forced to by the outside world who is not privy to your inner turmoil).

You can’t ever know all of the facts and so, to not take a chance on somebody, to not chase a dream, to not board a plane, to not vote, to not speak up, etc. because you are not 100% certain that it will work out or that you will be “right” would equal a pretty passive existence, in my opinion. Three things help me to come to peace (at least a little) with all of the unknowns before I make a decision: 1) Trust that my gut and intuition tell me more than I realize 2) Consider all of the things I’ve learned through hindsight in the past and remember that experience is often the best teacher. 3) There is no one way to live!

Talk to enough people and you’ll realize that there are perfectly sane, supremely interesting people living lives every which number of ways: married to their high school sweetheart, single and thriving, teaching, engineering, doing marketing, doing social work, believing in God, not believing in God, living close to their family, living far apart from their family, listening to country music, listening to rap music, voting one way, voting the other, etc.

I strive to expose myself to and keep my mind open to all the different ways there are to live, think about, and love this one life we each have. I want to learn from all the people I meet and possibly have my mind changed that “oh, this is actually, in fact, how I want to live, too.” But, I want to be careful not to become insecure in my beliefs or decisions JUST because they don’t line up with someone else’s or because they seem contradictory…those reasons have nothing to do with the strength or the validity of the decisions/beliefs themselves (and maybe more about the current environment I’m in). At the end of the day, only I know what all went into making a decision or holding a belief and so only I can know if it feels right or if maybe, I want to change in the future.

Examples of two contradictory lyrics from two very popular songs!

One kiss is all it takes, falling in love with me.

Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa, One Kiss

It started out with a kiss

How did it end up like this?

It was only a kiss, it was only a kiss

The Killers, Mr. Brightside

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