I Believe in the Color Gray

Renee - Chesterfield, Missouri
Entered on February 23, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

Frustrated with the ACT my friend Amanda yelled, “I am more than just a number on a page.” The world views everything as black or white. When people judge or make decisions they only take into consideration details that can be classified “pro” or “con.” In trying to understand a person, they look at resumes, applications, and concrete facts. To them, a person’s life can be summarized by the beginning and end, and nothing in between. The black and white of life originates from people who need tangibility and factuality, because they can’t grasp the gray area of life.

I believe nothing in life is that clear cut; there is no black and white. Life is one big gray area, filled with uncertainty. A person’s character can’t be described on paper, because it is impossible to fully illustrate a person with words. The only true way to understand someone is to develop a relationship. My friend’s ACT score may be able to classify her to the black and white world as either “smart” or “dumb”, but that one number says nothing about the way that she treats every human with respect and love, or how she uses her wisdom to make a difference. That black and white outlook doesn’t recognize the greatness within. There is always more than meets the eye, and all it takes is being open to the imprecise and unexplainable side of life. In knowing that, I believe that judging a person is unjust, because it is impossible to understand what that person is going through or feeling.

Living by the rule book can lead to stability and power which brings happiness, but a happiness that can only be defined by that same rule book. The black and white attitude on happiness often means that you must be rich and powerful. I find it impossible to adjust to this mindset–it is too narrow-minded. I have realized that the most important things in life such as love, laughter, kindness, and friendship can’t be defined by the black and white either. Life wasn’t intended to be lived in such a way. Life is a mystery that can never be fully understood. I believe in following your gut, believing in your intuition, and taking a leap of faith based on your instincts. Most decisions can’t be made based off a pro-con chart, it is much more important to follow what you are feeling. Although indescribable, the heart knows best. I believe some of the happiest people in the world are those that follow their own paths, listen to their hearts, and are open to seeing the beauty in that incomprehensible color gray.