This is probably a weird practice, but I do like to keep a journal of sorts. Since the start of 2008 I like to sit down at some point in the year and write out a brief two to three page list of “things I believe”. This little list covers the range of honest opinions I have about topics in politics and philosophy (I use that term broadly to include spirituality, ethics, morality, &c). I know it’s silly, and it doesn’t serve any deep purpose like self reaffirmation or reflection. No, I do this because once I finish writing things out I like to go back and look at the list from the previous years and laugh at how silly my beliefs had been.
Form me, the funnest part about being young is knowing that no matter how sincerely and passionately I feel about something, it’s probably wrong. I realize that doesn’t sound like fun, in fact I understand that it can be read as depressing. But that isn’t how I see it, it’s like when you, your parents, or your friends look at an old year book photo and laugh at themselves with that “what was I thinking” grin.
Amusement aside, I think it does have an added benefit of helping keep oneself grounded. Whenever I’m having an honest discussion about any of those beliefs (honest discussion ≠ argument), knowing how different that list looks year to year helps me remember not to speak categorically or transcendentally, and lets me be willing to be wrong.
I realize it’s silly, and probably a little strange, but it brings a smile to my face. Likewise I like to think that with each list I’m getting closer-to-right. I know that’s a sentiment I’ll likely find myself smirking at in a few years, but it’s still fun for me.