Last night my boyfriend and I watched the movie Non-Stop (the 2014 French–American mystery-thriller film starring Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, and Oscar-winning Lupita Nyong’o). It is one of those movies that keeps you thinking even after it’s over. When I got home, I continued to put pieces together and make realizations about the plot. While it is an entertaining, high-flying whodunit that will keep you guessing until the very end, it completely gave me the chills. The audience was very interactive and inching on the edges of their seat. When the credits rolled on the screen, the first words that came out of my mouth were, “I am never flying on a plane again.” Movies really shake me up. I just have too frail a heart. Actually, I guess I just don’t like being reminded of my vulnerability as a human. My immortality. The uncertainty of life. The fact that not everyone has a good heart.
I spent the next hour texting my boyfriend all of the thoughts and questions that were whizzing around in my head. He reminded me that it was just a movie and when I asked him an out-of-the-box question, he replied,
“I have no idea. I don’t think in-depth like you do. But don’t think too hard into it.”
That’s when I really started churning. I’m a thinker. It’s who I am. It’s how I make sense of things. It’s both advantageous and self-destructive.
I replied, “Don’t worry. I’m not letting it get to my head. Just reflecting.”
He texted back, “Ok good 🙂 It’s ok to understand something as long as you don’t let it dictate anything in your life.”
“I know. I’m trying to learn the balance. It’s hard. Life is confusing and scary and I don’t have all the answers.”
“No one does, baby”
I’m just not satisfied with not understanding the world. I’m 19 going on 20 college kid. I’m going through a period of skepticism in my life. Questioning everything. Being philosophical. Growing. Finding myself. Discovering my own truths. Being curious. I seek to find some sense of stability in this complex and confusing world. When I look at something and understand how it works, it comforts me. I know I won’t always have the answers, but I can at least try to make sense of things in a way that feels ok to me.
Who am I? What’s going on here? What are others? Who is God? Does God exist? Do I exist? What is life? What is Reality? What is Being? Is anything worth it? What’s the point??
This kind of questioning is a recognition of the the truth of human reality. It’s healthy. It’s normal.
When we were little kids, we questioned everything automatically: “What’s that? What’s happening? Why is water wet? Why can’t I touch the stove? Why can’t I eat all of the cookies?” etc. But as we grow up, others sometimes make us feel like we’re stupid if we’re always asking questions because it means we don’t know anything, or we find that our questions are annoying others who have stopped themselves from questioning.
Allow yourself to question everything. Question your teachers, question the traditions, and especially, question yourself. What motivates you? What really matters? Why do you do what you do? Where did your patterns come from? Who are you?
By allowing questions, you are opening yourself up to life. Dont be satisfied with what the majority says is true. It really bothers me when people blindly follow exactly what their parents instilled in them growing up or what their religion tells them is true. Discover your own truths. Learn for yourself. Explore. Educate yourself. Figure out what you believe to be right or wrong. Don’t allow yourself to be passively spoon fed.
Keep your mind open, and you’ll trade knowledge with the outside world.
I am not only referring to the serious, big questions in life. While those are important, so are the silly ones that you may or may not spend time thinking about. Here are some questions for you to reflect on, research/educate yourself on, and develop your own opinion on:
How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? Why?
If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job? Why?
What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
Why are you, you?
Does a postman deliver his own mail?
Does playing violent video games create a more violent child? Why?
If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be? Why?
Is the huge advancement in technology positive or negative in your life? Why?
What is something that makes you feel loved? Why does it make you feel this way?
What is your favorite color and why?
Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable? Why?
Is the drinking age too high, too low, or just right? Why?
One of the best ways to question is to never stop asking why. Ask “What are you doing?” and people can rattle off an answer like it’s their job. Ask, “Why are you doing it?” and they get taken aback, confused, stammering for some deeper truth.
Remove yourself from your ingrained routine. Ask the hard questions. Draw conclusions. It will be madly uncomfortable, but you will be free.
Do you ask enough questions or do you settle for what you know?