One of my greatest strength and biggest weakness is that I tend to question everything. Why do we eat the foods we eat, wear what we wear, communicate how we do, believe in what we do. It’s great because you are not stuck being hypnotized, living life blindly and listening to what everyone says is right or what you should do. But on the other hand, when you question things, and realize how wrong some things in the world are, that gets overwhelming and you try to change all these habits you’ve grown up with while the world has yet to even acknowledge that there are things wrong.
In an environmental class I took freshman year of high school, my teacher showed us the documentary, Food Inc. during our class period. The next period was lunch and my friends went out to get burgers and from that day forward, I never ate meat intentionally. I saw the harm being done, was then conscious of my actions, wondering why we normalized this viscous treatment and consumption of animals and stopped.
When I became aware of how much value people placed in items and the things they buy, I questioned it. Why do we make trips to the mall for an entire day, why are there ads for shoes and clothes everywhere, why do we keep buying things we dont need. And I think it’s to bring some type of fulfillment in our lives that we aren’t getting elsewhere.To make us feel happy for a second. All these hours at work are paying off because we have something tangible to prove our hard work and stress paid off. So I tried to avoid consumerism as much as possible because its unnecessary.
These are great things I learned from questioning but there are also negatives to it. I think the huge one is that you feel enlightened and have discovered these things but the hard fact is you’re one of a thousand and not everyone understands your realizations. Everyone blindly follows and you did at some point as well too, but now that you see life differently, knowing that others are still not questioning things we’ve normalized can be frustrating.
More so, I think the negative side of questioning is when you feel like you cannot do anything about it. I didn’t approve of the meat and dairy industry so I stopped consuming animal products. I didn’t believe that we should feed into capitalism and consumerism so I stopped myself as much as possible. I also do not want a 9-5 job and do not want to live a life with value based in money. And I think that has been the hardest part. Wanting to live a lifestyle that is not traditional, that is not an office, but is also not in a classroom, not in a hospital, not in a court room. I don’t want any of that and I dont know where that leaves me. I know what I don’t want, but I dont really know what I do want. I just want to travel the world and have intimate conversations with people about justice and that’s the extent of knowing what I want to do.
And that’s hard to grasp. As passionate as you are about rebelling against the system and not feeding into these expectations of a career and future, you cannot function otherwise. And you question people and wonder why they work at jobs they hate, it’s like why do you do this to yourself. But they also have families and homes and they cant drop that stability without hesitation. It’s never that easy to deviate away from conventional lifestyles.
Continuing to question everything you’ve been taught allows us to develop our own thoughts and minds. But I also find it hard when you have your own thoughts and mind but you’re living in a world that thinks the same, and its hard to delve out of what is normalized. Especially when you may need to adapt to survive. But at this point, I think mindfulness is the greatest way to live a life of satisfaction until we are living the life we dream. Being conscious of the present moment we are in, appreciating that, the fact that we are here, breathing, surviving, the fact that you can read this on a screen right now. These are all things to be thankful for and I guess if we take it all a moment at a time, it’ll be alright.
This video will be incredibly inspiring, an interview of Louis Cole:
Songs that may help if you are feeling overwhelmed, confused, sad, unsatisfied or like changing the world:
- Paul Izak-All Ways Love
- Sister Hazel-Change Your Mind
- Nickelback-If Everyone Cared
- Sam Garrett-The River
- Trevor Hall-Wheres the Love
- Bill Withers-Lovely Day
- Tyler Kyte-Happiness
all the love x movesandmountains