It’s now 2020, the 10s decade has finished. Ten years full of personal growth and development. From a standpoint at the start I was still in college, a young boy dealing with the new freedoms of an adult while still protected until the financial support of my parents.
Each year of the 2010s I felt much wiser than the previous. Looking back now there were far more similarities year to year than there were differences. Nevertheless, I still made improvements as I started as a college kid who thought I knew a lot and grew into a stable functioning married adult who recognizes that I have much to learn.
Culturally, things seemed to have progressed in a similar way. When you look at the surface from start to finish, not much has changed. Too much time on cell phones, social media questions, and still people speaking out against the media or the government for “insert here” the hot topic that everyone needs to get behind. When you dive down deeper you find a far greater variance of how groups of people define themselves by, and a daily dissection of social standards, how things are, versus how they ought to be.
How exactly is that similar? When you look closer you will find examples of changes and key events that brought about change, but, from a progress standpoint, really the only thing we can take away is that there is still much to learn..
As I have grown through this decade I probably have dabbled in all the life-hacks, happiness improvements, and work life balance techniques spewed out by the internet. A few things did get adapted however; I stretch daily, I exercise regularly, and as often as possible I use my lunch break at work to go for walks to distress, meditate, or just develop whatever ideas are in my head at the time.
From time to time I do try to form some sort of opinion based on the news story everyone is talking about. One day, for example, I noticed that whatever the story is and whatever topic it is regarding, eventually everyone stops talking, finds another report, and only recalls the previously mentioned conversations when they are brought up on it’s one year anniversary. Those conversations are very brief and most people just stay quiet as their opinions were formed last year based on whichever news outlet they heard it from.
I digress, recently on one of my walks I began thinking of Gin, and how I do not enjoy its taste. I usually express this fact when I see someone drinking it, or I accidentally order a mixed drink that has it as one of its ingredients. A recollection of one of those times was when my sister-in-law was expressing her fondness for a gin and tonic, a mouthful of a pine tree is how I referred to it.
While on my walk, I worried that maybe I had been a bit too vocal with my opinions on gin. Maybe my sister-in-law didn’t appreciate my displeasure for something that she does enjoy. I was close to sending her a text apologizing and explaining myself. I stopped myself by realizing that my intention was to simply express my preferences and not make her feel bad for hers.
Still, maybe I should be more reserved in the future, I thought.
Will that help? I think not.
Consider the fact, if I didn’t let my sister-in-law know my personal preferences towards gin. At one point she might have offered to make me a gin and tonic, being polite I would have accepted and taken one for the team. I am not known for my acting skills and the level at which I dislike gin would have cracked my poker face for sure. Sister-in-law seeing this, she would have felt bad and probably wished I had been more honest with her about it.
Communicating my personal preferences towards gin or keeping them to myself would not have helped or hurt my Sister-in-laws relationship. A pebble dropped in the ocean. It is just an example.
There are pros and cons to each approach. A simple up front and polite, “No thank you, I do not enjoy the taste of gin”, would be as close to a perfect response as possible, but there would be a lack of personal expression or just personality that I wish to honestly share with my sister-in-law or anyone who offers me gin.
What isn’t there, I realize, is any intention of being hurtful or hateful. A topic that is very present in the later part of the 2010s. What is hateful and what is acceptable? What should or shouldn’t be said?
Basically, I think it can be broken down like this:
You should always be allowed to express your personal preferences, however, you should never comment on someone else’s preferences in a negative way or in a way the generalizes those who share those preferences.
In this century’s roaring 20s preferences will continue to evolve, no doubt about it, but let’s save judgement for the courtroom and competitions. Varying preferences and opinions are OK. Back and forth discussion is great for finding a middle ground, or sharing ideas. Just as long as everyone involved can go about eating dinner at the same table or still having mutual respect for one another.