As I grow older, I realize that sometimes, it’s an act of courage to enter the world each day.
When I was little, I felt pretty safe, because I thought there were grownups running the world who knew what they were doing. Surely people like teachers and doctors and presidents knew everything, right? And mommy and daddy, well … they were the authority figures in my life. They were there to protect me, to tell me what’s right.
Of course, when we reach adolescence, many of us go through a stage where we reject all (or most) authority. Those who knew everything? They know nothing. And mom and dad? They’re just trying to hold us down. They’re out of touch. We are the voice of a new generation, we are youth, hear us roar!
At some point, in adulthood, we reach equilibrium. We start to see mom and dad as human beings who’ve had their own struggles, and while they haven’t always gotten it right, they did give us some good advice along the way. They did the best they could at the time, just like everyone else. And those authority figures? We look around at our peers, and discover that we are now the teachers and doctors and presidents, and people are looking to us. And there’s a moment of panic - I always thought there were people running the world who knew what they were doing! And now it’s us?
I’ve come to realize this: nobody has it all figured out. We’re all just making it up as we go along. With time, and with wisdom, we get better at it, but the bottom line is that nothing is certain. We make the best decisions we can with the information we have, and if they turn out to be wrong, we choose again. And when I look back on my mistakes, I’m better at forgiving myself, and saying: if I’d known better, I would have done better. I know better now.
Nothing is certain, but we get better at trusting ourselves. I struggle with this every day, but I also know that it’s the key to being brave enough to enter the world, and make a difference while I’m here.