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Life as a Game (of Pictionary)

September 17, 2009

Like most of my friends, I’m intent on learning about life. I think this is why I get along so well with ‘thinkers’. Many days we’ve spent wrestling heavy questions with our heavier hearts. And most times we just can’t figure it all out. So much is going on inside our heads, often I fall asleep wishing I could see c l e a r l y. I want to open my eyes one morning and see as if I’ve never seen before. To witness my first sunrise again, what would I say?

ThoughtBubblesLet’s, just for a moment, imagine we’re playing a game of pictionary. I suck at pictionary. BUT I am a lot better when I have a big clean sheet of paper to draw on. If I am forced to draw around or on top of images used earlier in the game, you can forget it. I get distracted by the other pictures, and I’m never able to draw what I intend. My hippo turns out looking a lot like the lightbulb it’s residing next to.

In much the same way, I think our lives become clouded with learnings. Even before we were old enough to learn, we were being taught. Taught by our parents, our siblings, our society, our culture, everything. By the time we are able to make decisions on our own, we’ve already been told thousands of times which decision to make and how to make it. Perhaps we’re not forced, but we grow up and grow old being told what to do.

Imagine escaping this. Envision flipping over the pictionary pad to a new, clean, pure sheet of paper. What if today we could start life as a clean sheet of paper? Without having other people’s drawings and influences on our sheet. Perhaps we would have more of a desire to learn without having certain teachings written upon us. Would we see a difference in skin colors if we didn’t know the history that separated them? Would we help our homeless neighbors if we didn’t care that they ‘have problems’? Would we be able to choose who to love without being told ‘it is wrong’? If we’d never heard of capitalism, would we spend every ounce of our energy for that extra dime?

Perhaps if we started with a clean slate, our lives might be a little more different. Whether or not it’d change anything, it’s worth the thought.

[My inspiration for unlearning about life came from a recent Brazen Careerist post that said, “Racism is something we have to un-learn”. Here you can find that post titled ‘Why I Travel’ by Ben Casnocha.]

2 Comments leave one →
  1. courtney903 permalink
    September 18, 2009 12:52 pm

    In a similar vein, I feel like I really started growing up and figuring out who I was when I moved south, 1000 miles from the people who imposed all of that initial learning, who I still perceived as having certain expectations of me. I *am* more excited to learn, more curious about all kinds of things, more willing to search for answers–the RIGHT answers– without feeling expected to believe certain things or come to certain conclusions.

    My own “flipping the page over,” as it were.

  2. Queer Engineer permalink
    September 19, 2009 3:35 pm

    I have been learning this lesson for a few years now. I spent most of my life leaning on the opinions of my parents. Once I got out of the house and into college, my whole perspective on life changed and I began to rid myself of some of the prejudices I held and began seeing everyday as an opportunity to challenge my thoughts and opinions and open my eyes a little more. It’s been an amazing experience.

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