I Believe in Not Knowing

Casey - Yorktown Heights, New York
Entered on February 11, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

“Do you believe in God?”

“What college are you going to?”

“What are you going to major in?”

“If you could have voted in the presidential election who would you choose?”

To all of these questions I can honestly respond with three basic words, “I don’t know”. As a seventeen year-old high school senior I am bombarded with questions like these constantly; by family, by friends, and by teachers; nearly everyone I encounter. The fact of the matter is I simply don’t know. Some people may view my answers as apathetic or indecisive but I, like millions of other teenagers, am not indifferent. I have values and beliefs that I stand for and goals that I want to achieve. I may belong to the generation of cell-phone wielding, facebook obsessed, technology junkies, but that doesn’t define who I am.

I have no idea whether or not a God exists. This is not because I am too lazy to go to Church or too ignorant about the religion I have been raised to accept. It is simply because I have trouble blindly believing in the intangible. There is nothing wrong with having faith and having beliefs so strong that nothing could break them, in fact there are some days where I wish that I felt something so convincingly that nothing could shake my religious ideals. However, for me, an inability to see proof makes this impossible.

I don’t know where I am going to college. Not because I haven’t done my research or utilized all the resources available to me, but because it’s a huge decision that will impact my life for the next four years and beyond. I have no career path in mind. There are plenty of possibilities, but my life is not mapped out. This cannot be blamed on a lack of thought and consideration. I’ve spent plenty of time thinking about what I want to be and what I am going to do with my life, but I haven’t reached any decisions. There are so many doors open to me that I see no reason to shut them before I even explore the possibilities that lie beyond them.

Barack Obama or John McCain? If I could’ve voted I don’t know who I would have chosen. I understood their stances, listened to the radio, even read the newspaper, but I haven’t felt the impacts of many of their choices. I don’t own a house or bring in a sizable income. I knew what each man stood for and I knew which way I leaned on certain issues, but I have no way of knowing what will happen four years from now when I enter the “real world”. I don’t know what my life will be like and how the choices made now will shape my future.

Call me apathetic, unconcerned, or even lazy. Feel free to think that I can’t make up my mind. One day I will figure it all out and I’ll know exactly what I want to do and what I believe in, but for now I believe that it’s okay not to know certain things. I know that I want to make a difference in the world, but I don’t know how. I know that I want to have a career, but I don’t know what. I know that I want to have a family, but I don’t know when. I may not have a completely structured plan for the rest of my life but I believe that at seventeen that is completely acceptable.