Teenage Rebellion

“If you don’t reflect on your life, if you don’t consider it, if you don’t choose the values that you are going to live by, then you are going to be living according to someone else’s choices. You are going to be like a football that they’re kicking around, because you have not chosen something and directed your life towards those goals.”  – A.C. Grayling

There are many great points in that two minute video I posted last week.  The above quote is the most important one. 

How often in life do you go about your day following someone else’s rules? Even more importantly: How often in life do you go about your day mindlessly following rules that you have set up yourself? There is no reason to reject these rules or routines outright. They could be very useful. But you must reflect on why you do the things you do. You must understand the choices that you make.

I remember when I was transitioning into my teenage years. At school, I would try to find exceptions to rules that teachers taught me. Grammar was the easiest to break. Why should I use a comma at this point in a sentence? Other writers don’t do that. Why should I? I hated it when I got bad grades because of arbitrary rules like that. Even in physics, Newton’s laws did not work at relativistic speeds.

I was always looking for ways for rules to break down. And I was always able to find them.

I kept most of these exceptions to myself. I saw other kids doing the same thing but raising a big stink about it in class. That got annoying real quick. But I was pissed off that these rules did not work all the time. I was even more pissed when teachers acted like the rules always did work. I wanted to tell them to just stop the charade.

I was slowly coming to the realization that there is no such thing as a hard rule. All rules are just rules of thumb. Whether they are related to physics, grammar, social situations, parenting, hygiene, etc., they are made up by people. Therefore, they are fallible.

Those times were just one portion of my teenage rebellion. I did plenty of other things to try to claim my independence. I think everybody goes through their own form of it.  Sometimes, people rebel just to rebel. In terms of being independent, doing that is the equivalent of just doing what your told. You are just doing the inverse.

But for most cases, teenage rebellion is a great example of what Grayling was talking about: choosing the values that you are going to live by. You reject the rules that others have set up for you. You begin to choose the rules that you believe in.

The question now is: Why am I not still rebelling?

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