This I Believe

Anthony - Jamison, Pennsylvania
Entered on December 12, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I Believe in the Gray Area

What do I believe in? I believe in thinking outside of the box, my own judgment, personal rights, ambiguity, nonconformity, spontaneity, leniency, opinion, freedom, choice, trust, and fun. And to me, these words and their meanings, reside in a little area I like to call “the gray area of life.” So what is this gray area? Well let me tell you a story:

As a child I was a good kid. I was shy, quiet, always followed the rules, never a detention, never in trouble; smart, polite, always good grades, always trying to do the right thing. A lot of me genuinely was this kind, intelligent, decent young man. But as I grew, and my experiences began to intertwine to create my own views and opinions of the world, part of me began to question how I lived my life.

I found that I wasn’t always trying to do the right thing. I was simply trying not to do the wrong thing. Somehow, all of the rules and regulations, warnings and lectures, laws and advice that I had endured through the years of my brief existence had created a personal paranoia of “the wrong thing.” My paranoia of the potential consequences of doing something that might be the wrong in someone else’s eyes, was keeping me from doing the things that I wanted to do. Just the little things – staying out past curfew, cutting out of school early senior year, the hell raising and good times of my youth – simply put, I wasn’t being a kid; I wasn’t enjoying life.

As I entered college I realized, right and wrong, legal and illegal, judgment and justice, are simply labels. They are not black and white. There is a gray area in there that I needed to find. I needed to do what I wanted to do, not avoid what others didn’t want me to do. I needed to take a step back mentally, take a deep breath, and relax.

At that moment, I saw the hypocrisy of the police officer who arrests the college freshman for underage drinking when he himself did the same. I saw the absurdity of lawsuits for spilling coffee and further absurdity of that lawsuit’s success. I also found the ability to disagree with a coach’s Sunday morning practice and make my stand against it, the ability to skip class in light of a little fun; I found a little spontaneity goes a long way.

Trivial as these examples may sound, I had a change in lifestyle, an altered view of the world. I am young and I am free and I now can take a laidback, logical, open-minded, and worry-free approach to life and live it the way I want to. What you do, or want to do, may not be right in the eyes of others, but they may be okay to you. And that is the gray area of life, and that is where I live.