How often have you heard someone say "my mind is made up"? This can be a good thing, if it means they've looked at the facts and considered all the options, and have reached what they believe is a sound conclusion. But too often it actually means don't confuse me with the facts. I've already decided what I'm going to believe. To be confident about where you stand on the issues in life is fine, as long as that doesn't mean that you've closed your mind to reconsideration if new information is brought to light.
One of my favorite expressions back when I was younger and more radical was "Some solid concrete people are mixed up and set in their ways." Think about it... if you are going to stand firm in your ways and beliefs, you'd better be darned sure that you are standing for or against the right thing. Your convictions should change and evolve along with you as you grow and mature. What I understood of life from a child's perspective, or even as a young adult in my 20's, is far different from the way I see things now. My stance on some issues is much the same as it was back then... such as how people should be valued and treated at work, in their homes, and in society. But other views have changed along the way... things about liberation, faith, marriage, even guns. :-)
It's not only what you believe that is important, but also that you have good reasons for the beliefs you hold. Here's an example... I had a boss who refused to let our human services agency be actively involved in Special Olympics because he had been a supporter at one time and had a negative personal experience with some of the folks involved in leadership roles in the local organization. Ok, his feelings got hurt, but is that really a good reason from completely backing away from supporting all the good things that Special Olympics can be? Was he letting his emotions cloud his thinking? Wouldn't it have been better if he had decided to step back from it if he chose, but permit other staff to go on being actively involved?
It is said that older people become set in their ways. If that means I do things routinely in the same manner with the same choices, yes I most often do. It helps me to keep order in my life. But I hope it can also be said that I remain open to new insights and ideas, to new ways of doing things that just might prove to be more enlightened or advanced than the way I see or do things now. When I first met Papa Bear he thought texting was silly and didn't have it on his phone. Now he wouldn't give up his iPhone anymore than I would mine. Old dogs can learn new tricks! :-)
Many years ago I lived communally and I believed in that way of life. In some ways I still do, and I think it has possibilities that got overshadowed by the dark side of the sixties. I believed that monogamy was an outdated concept that made little sense in today's society. Now, years later, after much more experience with relationships and marriage, I have to conclude that monogamy works. The "free love" concept was great as a concept, but realistically it presents a host of problems, the least of which is that most people are not emotionally equipped to handle open relationships. Insecurities, doubts, and needs get in the way, it gets complicated. People get hurt, even if they swear that won't happen. So my beliefs about that subject have changed. I am in a monogamous relationship with Papa Bear because it's what I want for my life now... and it works, it works wonderfully for us! :-)
If you had told me ten years ago, or even five years ago that I would be advocating gun ownership, I'd have laughed you out of the room, maybe even tossed you out angrily. I had STRONG feelings about this issue. Based on my experiences, along with what I'd seen and read, I believed guns were bad news. John and I have talked long and hard about that and I've come around to his way of thinking about guns (though not necessarily about politics :-). I am big enough to say my opinion has changed, and I feel just as strongly that I am making a good decision for my life now... for who, what and where I am now. (It would not have been a good idea in my previous marriage. His drug use and my eventual desperation probably would have left one or the other of us in the morgue.)
The moral of the this meandering blog post is to "never say never" when it comes to what you might think, say or do, given another situation. Always keep your mind open to at least considering new possibilities, new ways of looking at things, be willing to re-evaluate the situation. What was right for you then, might not be right now. Don't close your mind.... let it expand and grow!