Converse of that old saying, "The older I get the more I know," I believe my life is teaching me that the older I get the LESS I actually do know. At least, the less I find I that I will fight you to the death to be right about.
I have begun to find that I am a woman who likes it when her ideas are challenged; likes it when she has to admit she's wrong. I do. Its painful sometimes, but I still like it.
Its not that I don't have opinions, thoughts, beliefs. I do. There are still, in my outlook, some things that aren't so flexible. Protecting children. Mandatory castrations for rapists and child molesters. UW tops WSU. Basketball trumps football. Life is a journey. Voting is a right people died to attain for you so get off your ass and do it. That sort of thing. But a lot of the other things I "used to know" - they've changed and evolved over the years, my thoughts on relationships, parenting, politics, faith. When I was in my 20's I would take a stand and prepare for battle. I KNEW what I knew. If you didn't agree with me you were questionable. I was absolutely rigid in the strength of my convictions and my knowledge of the future. Every life-altering decision I made was right for me - whether it was or not. I played hopscotch on the landscape of my future, firm in the unwavering resolve of my immature mind. Humility was an infrequent, perhaps completely absent companion. My life was an adventure written on scraps of paper then cast willy-nilly into the air. I didn't realize then that it was paper I was casting, I believed it was stones, stones that would stay where thrown and sit tight under the weight of my will. But paper it was and paper it remains.
Paper swirls and dances and tosses on the wind of chance and whim. Paper might stay still if you can put your finger on a corner and hold it there, but if you are distracted even for a moment, off that paper flies to dance and skitter across the yard.
Consequence. It was a word I struggled mightily to avoid, large, unforgiving, crushing. As long as I could avoid consequence I could live in the denial that my ego demanded. Eventually, like chickens come home to roost, consequence found me. Picked me up and body-slammed me to the ground. As I lay there, gasping for breath, realization dawned that the consequences were not going to end quickly or painlessly. No wonder I had avoided them for so long.
The amazing thing about having your life fall apart is the opportunity that it creates.
It has been the end of my assurance to self and others that I have it all figured out. It has been the acceptance of my humanity and all of the simultaneous strength and frailty that term encompasses. In the last year I have learned, slowly and painfully, that I'm not always right. That just because I have an expectation doesn't mean that it is reasonable. That if someone disagrees with me I don't have to argue them down into the dust; that I can listen to their thoughts and beliefs with my ears AND my mind open.
It was when I realized I knew nothing that the path to learning everything opened wide.