Embracing Tough Questions

“Honestly, I feel like everybody’s feeling kinda lost, and everybody knows it- but nobody takes the time to talk.” -Gnash

At five years old, I was asking silly questions like ‘Why is the sky blue?” or “Where do we come from?” Flash forward another five years, and I was asking questions like “If I don’t have a birthday party, how will I know I’m growing up?” When I was fourteen, I was trying to figure out if the cute boy in math class liked me back. At sixteen years old I was bawling at my high school graduation, asking my friends questions like “We’re going to stay in touch forever and ever, right?” and “What on earth are we supposed to do with our lives now?” A month before my eighteenth birthday, I experienced my first heartbreak. Questions like “Why wasn’t I good enough?” and “Are all boys jerks?” were constantly hurled at God and everyone around me. Now at eighteen and a half, I find myself just a little lost.

As we grow older, I feel like our curiosity dims. We let other stressors in our mind. Responsibilities take over. We’re at that age where everything kind of makes sense, but kind of doesn’t. We’re old enough to have an idea of what the real world is like, yet we’re too young to truly understand. We say we know how to adult–but do we actually? Things that used to be the center of our attention are now pushed to the archives of our mind. We all act like we have everything together because in the outside world it’s a common belief that in order to be viewed and respected as a high-functioning adult, we have to be organized all the time. But we don’t. Sharing our questions with others is a healthy process that shapes our growth and strengthens our relationships with those around us.

Questions are a sign of human interest. They help us create connections. We might ask, “How’s your mom doing?”, “What kind of music do you like listening to?”, or “Do you have any pets?”. These are all questions that show that we care. Sometimes we ask them, sometimes we don’t. There are many reasons that we might fail to ask these questions, and often it is as simple as preoccupation. Sometimes, we may ask these questions as a way to pass the time rather than out of interest. Either way, I think that these are questions that are worth asking. The answers to these questions matter to someone. You may not think it at first, but they matter to you too.

Most people aren’t just going to walk up to you and ask you for help. Sometimes, you have to offer it to them. Sometimes, you’re going to be on the other end, asking for help.  Asking for help isn’t easy, nor is offering.  You may worry about how asking questions makes you appear to others, but asking those questions could save someone’s life. It doesn’t take much at all–offering a kind smile, a simple hello, or a listening ear is a start. Once a relationship has been established, you may be able to offer honest words of encouragement. Too often we underestimate the power of even the littlest gesture of kindness–but each of these has so much potential to turn a life around.

Be the light in someone’s life. Lift each other up, help each other grow. Help yourself and the people around you. Ask the questions, because we’re all just a little confused. Everyone’s fighting their own fight.

What this world needs is a big group hug, so dear reader–let’s start forming the circle, because guess what? We’re all just a lost bunch of kids trying to find our place in this big, crazy, slightly intimidating world.

Celine is a sophomore majoring in psychology and political science.

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