Skip to main content

Shades of Grey


The people who unnerve me the most are those who are doggedly assured about everything. For better or worse, I am not like that. From the universe to faith, from gun control to politics, it is often shades of grey for this 40-year-old. If others have it all figured out, bully for them. But they scare me.

The older I get, the more I see things through a prism of uncertainty. In fact I am so uncertain, I've no idea whether this is a normal progression of aging human thought, or if it's an anomaly derived from some inner quirk or foible. I suspect it may be a bit of both.

When I was younger, I saw the world with a fair amount of assuredness. Things were black & white. X was good, Y was bad. I knew such things to be self-evident. Older people would sometimes shake their head, and I'd hear things like, "It's not that simple, Matt," or "Life is more complicated than that." I shook my head at them. They'd let the world beat them down into submission. That wasn't going to happen to me.

Fast forward twenty years, and I find myself often echoing the words of the aforementioned older people. Maybe that's what life does to you? After years of experiences, knowing more people, observing situations and listening to others, I simply find it impossible to be 100% sure, 100% of the time. Is that bad? I don't know.

There are, of course, I few things I know. I'm certain of who I love. My opinion on equal rights is pretty firm. I believe in freedom (though what freedom means can be its own morass). I tend not to believe in religion, though even there am willing to admit that there's simply no way to know for sure. I lean liberal in my politics, though find there are things to respect within conservatism. I have opinions on others' actions, though am less quick to judge them. Empathy has increased tenfold from when I was younger.

Of course, I can't blame this all on simple aging. While clarity of thought and moral certitude would seem to be the domain of the young or the very old, there are those my own age who dwell in it far better than I. It is difficult not to marvel -- or cringe -- at how firm they are in their beliefs. They know what they know. And, like rocks weathering the passage of time, they remain resolute in their convictions.

I am not like that. It may be a blessing or a curse, but I still have doubts. About a lot of things. At my core, I believe in setting an example for how we want to be treated, in helping others when we can, in finding and providing love, in giving thought and consideration to our words and to our actions. Those are where my moral confidences are strongest.

For everyone who has life figured out, who knows what they know and damn everything else, well, I both envy and fear you. Of that, I am certain.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

If You Could Read My Mind

Dance clubs are a funny thing. They contain within their walls a life force and vibrancy sometimes unmatched anywhere else. When dusk settles and the lights come on, people will flood the dance floors to gyrate to music with hypnotic beats and songs about love, lust and fun at the disco. At gay bars, this sort of scenario usually increases ten-fold. It isn't for everyone, but for many it is a respite from the harsh realities of the real word. It is a place that isn't just a structure, but a sanctuary where folks -- minorities in their own communities -- can take shelter and unwind with abandon, at least for a few nighttime hours.
As someone who benefited greatly from such an aforementioned gay dance club, you can imagine my dismay at news of the closing of Chester Street Bar. In business for over three decades, gay-owned and operated, there was a time when C-Street (as it was known by most) was the only haven for those in the LGBT community, near and far, to enjoy themselves …

Third Death

My father has had three funerals. The third (though perhaps not final) one, was last night.
In reality, Lewis died in 1997. Cancer. Aged 52. He had a real funeral. I was there. The next two funerals occurred only in my dreams, yet they seemed real at the time, and their impact during the waking hours was keenly felt.
You see, during the intervening nineteen years, Lewis has come back to life in my dreams, many times. It is more than simply having a dream about him. During these nighttime images, it is noted that Lewis shouldn't be there, that he died of cancer and is resting six feet under. How, then, could he be alive and, seemingly, healthy?

Thoughts on an Election

Before I get started on the ruminations of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, I'll begin by saying I really have no clue as to who our next president will be. I've always fretted over the outcome of elections, regardless of the polls, and this year is no different. Especially this year. A good case can be made as to why Hillary Clinton will become our 45th president. All one has to do is look at the polls. Clinton has a comfortable lead in many states, enough to make one think that she will win handily on November 8th.
Of course, polls can be wrong. 538 gives Clinton's changes of winning in the low-mid 80 percent range. Several polls would seem to agree. Many Republicans are jumping ship from Trump. The race looks over. But of course, humanity isn't as easily predictable as polling would have us believe. Things happen. People can surprise us. And, for better or worse, I think that Donald Trump may very well become our next president.