If there is one thing about the invention of social media that I appreciate, it is the connections created for soul mates who may have not met otherwise. Lindsay is the example of this in my life. We met on Instagram through the common connection of Kayla Itsines’ fitness program, and our relationship grew with the help of direct messaging, then texting, then calls, and, last but not least…Marco Polo.
Marco Polo, if you’re not familiar, is an app which essentially enables users to leave video voicemails for their friends and family. This app has kept Lindsay and I, despite our action packed and differing schedules, connected and engaged in our friendship. And more often than not, it’s where we come up with our best ideas, our latest writing topics, and the place we go to feel seen and heard in a way we don’t quite experience anywhere else in our lives.
In our most recent Marco Polo exchange, Lindsay made the comment during one of her video messages that her musings were “probably not a productive conversation because they’ve just led to more questions and weird ideas.” I paused the video just to write that down in my notes. It stopped me because while Lindsay was classically being critical of her verbalized thoughts, I realized that our discussions always lead to more questions and weird ideas, and that’s precisely what I love so much about them.
Questions and Weird Ideas
Our answer-less ponderings and reflections coupled with weird ideas are the reason I have truly learned so much throughout our relationship. The open-minded and curious approach we both take when discussing myriad topics, even when our emotions are intensely invested, are the distinct ingredients that expand our worlds, increase our compassion, and encourage critical thinking– which we are both big fans of.
It seems we are taught from an early age to find and accept the “right” answers to all kinds of questions. I know people who love math (no thanks) for the simple reason that there are clear answers to every equation. There’s perceived safety and security when we believe we have answers. So if answers provide us with safety, what do questions offer? Some may respond that questioning creates doubts. Others may feel that questioning demonstrates lack of conviction. Many might assume that questioning equals a deficit in education or intelligence. Of course, what is being questioned factors into how the queries are interpreted or scrutinized.
The Road Less Traveled
From my perspective, questioning offers mystique and metamorphosis. It is the road less traveled that Frost spoke of, the one that made all the difference. It is the exploration of realms within and beyond what we can reach. And when we allow ourselves to hang in the balance of consideration, suddenly intriguing pathways permit our entrance to exploration. If answers offer comfort, questions offer meaning.
One of the unfortunate realities of social media is the algorithms and the trolling. Spend too much time on a platform like Facebook, twitter, Instagram, or the like, and you’ll witness (or find yourself embroiled in) heated arguments based in perpetuated narratives. It’s rare to see a display of respected nuance and shifted mindsets, let alone humble accountability. Whatever notions a user subscribes to, the algorithm endorses over and over again, further solidifying the originally detected belief. Should another user directly or indirectly challenge said belief, an all-out digital war ensues. Battles behind screens are fought over anything ranging from which hot sauce is best for your taco to what God you choose to believe in (or not). Everyone seems to think they are the ones with the correct answers.
The More You Learn, The Less You Know
Lindsay and I commonly reference the quote “the more you learn, the less you know,” because we resonate deeply. As avid readers, podcast consumers, constant seekers, we dive into topics of interest and dig down. We love to learn and then deliberate our discoveries together, sharing our similar and differing points of view. Frequently, we say to each other “I have no answers.” And yet, hers are the thoughts I find myself interested in the most.
Trying on lenses of another, allowing your eyes to adjust, and truly seeing a new viewpoint brightens the world around you. Nuance in an otherwise monotonous landscape sparks creativity and heightened awareness. Expand your horizons. Ask questions. Have a conversation where you find yourself listening more than speaking. And in the words made famous again by Ted Lasso, “be curious, not judgmental.”