This week, while casually watching a video of a frolicking polar bear cub, a thought crossed my mind that surprised me. I thought, “I wish I could go back to the times when I was blissfully ignorant.”

There’s no denying it, November has been a bit of a rough month for not just the United States, but the world. The U.S. is at a political tipping point and wildfires rage throughout the southeast, there was a plane crash in Columbia and an attack at Ohio State University, a bombing of a children’s hospital in Syria, and unfortunately the list goes on. I found out about all of these events through social media, on platforms that I originally joined to stay connected with friends. Now, websites like Facebook and twitter are some of my main sources for news. No longer are these websites an escape into the superficial lives of those I follow, because let’s be honest we all only share what is in line with our preferred image of ourselves, but they are portals into the real horrors happening around the world.  

We don’t live in “polite America” anymore (though I’m not sure if we ever did). Social media has made it too easy to share our opinions in an impersonal outlet where we don’t have to be face-to-face with those whose opinions differ from our own. So yes, maybe I do miss my former ignorance. I miss logging into Facebook and my greatest content concern being how many likes my post “Claire is going to Costco” got. But, I am far more grateful that I am socially aware, no matter what it does to my blood pressure.

Challenge Detroit has reminded me that sitting back and simply complaining about the state of the world to like-minded people is useless. Strife is not something you endure, it’s something you combat. I once read a quote from this pretty smart guy, you may have heard of him, his name is Albert Einstein. He said, “Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” So this coming December, I am choosing to challenge myself to understand those who I don’t agree with and to actively work past what I think I “know” to be true and seek the knowledge of others.

Because we can’t afford the luxury of blissful ignorance anymore.


The opinions in this post are entirely my own, and are by no means a reflection of Challenge Detroit, or its staff.