“The older I get, the more I realize no one has any idea what they are doing and everyone is just pretending,” unknown. This one gets me every time. When I was a kid, I thought my parents literally knew everything. I thought every adult around me just got “it” and was successful. I spent so much of my young adulthood looking for the more experienced adults because I didn’t feel qualified enough to make any decisions. And then the truth slowly revealed itself: people are doing their best version of guess and check every day.
We are all playing a game that was created over two centuries ago and no one really understood it in the first place. It was designed for a much smaller group of people, and through some wildly misinterpreted game of telephone, we are following some rules that are watered down versions of themselves that no one who originally wrote it can interpret anymore. Oh, and we knew a hell of a lot less back then because, you know, technology limitations, so things that fit then simply DON’T fit today.
All of that is to say, no one knows anything. They know a little bit about what they are told they should do, but we are ALL simply trying to float through the day. We go out into the world to make it seem like we are doing something productive and then we make our way home to our safe little next, hoping to get there unscathed. Then we numb ourselves because we’ve forgotten the point of living entirely. And I realize…this is exactly the same pattern my parents and all of those adultier adults did when I was a kid. So why do we put this insane pressure on ourselves to get our lives “right”? I also find it ironic that, if you really ask people, they all feel this way. No one knows what they’re doing so why do we keep pretending we do?
I think the easiest concept is to live kindly. Understand we are all doing our best. But putting that into practice is challenging because we are all living at different levels, coming from different experiences. And even I will admit that sometimes, doing your best isn’t enough—for example, you can’t just wing it when you drive. There are millions of other people on the road and vehicular manslaughter is a bad thing, so there are standards you need to follow there. But living with more compassion IS something we can all do. We can strive to educate and help each other do better.
So what if we stop teaching our kids that we know it all—especially when we know we don’t know it all? I mean, the balance of power would greatly shift in their favor because kids know a lot more about the meaning of life than we do. But what if there is a happy medium? What if we incorporated more of the joy for life with direction? And what if we made joy our purpose? Yes, everything we know it could potentially fall apart…but I believe that only the pieces that no longer serve would fall away. So what if we let the systems break and what if we started our own game? One designed for today. I’d rather us figure it out together than keep each other held to some ridiculous standard from 200 years ago that is no longer applicable. So…are you brave enough to admit what you don’t know?