You don’t know what you don’t know

Art by Savannah Brown

Times are tough. Every day, the news reports this, that and the other about how people’s way of life is deteriorating. In this day and age, it can be particularly easy to be washed over in feelings of negativity. However, many fall victim to what I would call the “aware pessimist” paradox.
Today, it is about as crucial as breathing to be well informed.

Unfortunately for us, this can include all sorts of bombardment of negatively spun news. Regardless of how factual these sources are, they are still present and hanging around in our headspace, sometimes making it impossible to think about anything else. Presenting, the Aware Pessimist; Often quoted saying things like “Haven’t you seen the news today? This is it, this is the end!” or “How can you be so oblivious to what’s going on here!” These kind of statements can not only be annoying but simply end up exacerbating the situation entirely. I should know, I was one.

Recently, as my time in high school gets ever nearer to a close, many things have been falling into place, somewhat staggeringly. Thinking back on my underclassmen years or even last year, I’m pretty heavily reminded of all the questions and blatant uncertainty my life had and how fragile my headspace was. This kind of questioning of one’s own life and their environment is what leads to the drowning sense of anxiety that many adolescents experience daily.

I was lead directly to a twisted notion, that I somehow knew it all. As most self-indulgent teenagers, it took some serious stopping and looking around for me to stop gazing at the abyss of negatives that the world provides and start looking at what is good in the world.

Being realistic and treating every scenario by looking at what is presented to me is likely one of the harder lessons that even now, I’m still learning. When it gets tough, I focus on some sage words given to me by my mother: “You don’t know what you don’t know.” This sentiment reminds me that the world is not black and white, we live in beautiful shades of grey.

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