When I was younger, life was easily explained in black and white. Good always won, evil always lost. I was content to let my parents talk softly in the kitchen, because they were adults and adults always become concerned over things that warrant no further contemplation. Bad things happened in the world, and I was content to let them remained unexplained. People are always defined by what they say, they always act in absolutes, they're always logically consistent with themselves.
Of course, being younger, I couldn't express this coherently: I just knew. The world works in one way and in one way only. But that is no longer the case. This darkening sky grows deeper daily, weekly, yearly, and I, as an individual, am powerless to stop it.
People are no longer merely black and white. Sometimes evil men do things and get away with it. "Good" applies to no one, and sometimes evil men do good things, much to the dismay of my simpler self. Now I know what my parents softly discuss, and even worse, I know why. Bad things happen in the world, and there is no explanation.
And every year, things get more complicated. With whom do I spend my time? Who are my confidants? How do I express myself? How will I spend the next 60 years of life? But even more importantly, how will I spend the next minute? The next hour of life?
Where will I go to college? What about dating? Do I support my spoken-for friends? Are their relationships more important than my friendship?
Am I willing to sacrifice for a cause greater than myself? How much is too much? Does that sacrifice even matter in the grand scheme of things?
"What if it was true, that all we thought was right, was wrong?"
I used to read many books with courageous, plucky heroines, hoping that their bravery and fortitude would help me find mine. Increasingly, I find myself more like Peregrin Took, swept up in an adventure... quest... thing...
...With only my good intentions and bumbling nature to help me out. And try as I might, good intentions nearly always bring more trouble upon myself and others.
I realize this is not a terribly encouraging thought to end 2011 with. It suits, though. Overwhelmingly, 2011 has been the year of indecision.