Life Doesn’t Fit In a Box

Do people become more or less open-minded as they grow up? I would say, for the most part, the people I have observed seem to have been malleable in their youth. But, like clay pots drying in the sun, would harden their opinions as time went on. 

For me, it was a little different. When I was young, if I was told something was right or wrong, I didn’t question it. I was taught what was “true”, with such veracity that it left no question about an alternative. Also, that people who did “bad things” were bad people. It was very simple to understand. 

But if you have lived long enough, you realize that life is very complex. So though I started out seeing things as black and white, as I learned, read, traveled, and interacted with people, I began to see things in shades of grey.

As an example, I grew up believing that abortion was dead wrong. No question. However, one night when I was in my early twenties, a friend who I loved dearly, told me that she had an abortion. Seeing she was distraught, I took to consoling rather than admonishing her. What am I, a monster? 

I knew she was a good person and would not make such a decision lightly. But my mind was so tightly wound on good people don’t do bad things, I had to make a choice. I ended up deciding there must be a lot more to the situation than I could comprehend. I was also glad because as a man (I should add not the would-be father), I really had no dog in the fight. It was a choice I would never have to make for myself so I shouldn’t be overwhelmingly concerned with it.

It forever broke the thing within me that had only seen right and wrong and good and evil. 

That isn’t to say that I don’t believe in absolute truth. Just that it might be more than any blanket statement can cover and that it pertains to each situation to varying degrees. And having been through a miscarriage, know the value of human life and feel it starts earlier than when a baby is delivered. If that seems like a lot of conflicting ideas to hold in your mind at once, welcome to the real world.

Today my coworker and I were talking about plumbing. He had used SharkBites instead of soldering copper pipes. When he popped SharkBites into Google there were reviews from people saying they hate and would never use SharkBites and people saying they love and would only use SharkBites. 

Polarizing views. That is what it comes down to in politics, religion, and even plumbing. 

Each person gets on their soapbox and proclaims themselves an expert. It’s my way or the highway.

But does it have to be like that? 

Look, I have used SharkBites. I can tell you it was easier than sweating pipes and the pipes I used them on have been holding on for years. Removing a Sharkbite was pretty easy and while I have soldered pipes as well, I would trust SharkBites even within a wall. 

End of review.

Maybe this isn’t going to rank high on a review list. I’m not an expert. I am just a guy who used this product. If I had years of experience I could list that as well. If I had a bad experience, I don’t have to sensationalize it either. One-star, SharkBites. My house is flooded. Although I might have installed them wrong, I think I followed the directions well and SharkBites did not work for me.

None of us are the experts we think we are. I am really good with coding in Google Sheets. I might just be THE subject matter expert in the next three counties. Of course, I always allow that I do not know it all. 

Socrates said, “The more I know, the more I realize I know nothing.” 

Epictetus said, “It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.”

So I offer you the one thing I think I might have picked up over the years. 

Be humble. Keep an open mind. You never know what you might learn doing so.

By Sam Watson

I'm pretty good at Microsoft Excel but a freak in Google Sheets.

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1 year ago

👏🏼 love this! Great read Sam.

1 year ago

That was a very good read.

And I’ve also used SharkBites. They’re holding up great.

Erika Lee
Erika Lee
1 year ago

So many great things you’ve said in this one..I like that it’s short and to the point with many golden nuggets! Okay, maybe I’ll jump back on the blog wagon soon 🙂

Admiral Ackbar
1 year ago

You wrote a whole misleading title to say you are good at google sheets. Sam(e) old Watson.

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