in my ideal world, everything would be beautifully organized… maybe even color coordinated… and stacked from shortest to tallest. nothing would be out of order. life would be so simplistic this way.
i used to have my bookshelf assembled in what i thought was a perfectly organized system. textbooks went together on the bottom shelf safely as far away from fiction books as i could get them. my fiction books, namely The Great Gatsby, always take me on an imaginative tour far different from anything i could have learned in college. that is not to say that i never daydreamed while reading Interpreting NAFTA or Human Resources Management, but i think you understand.
i was just searching for a book on my shelf by one of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott. the way she depicts an event in her life is unparalleled, with her use of vocabulary that leaves readers laughing and crying at the same time. anyway, while reaching for Bird by Bird, i noticed that all of my books are mixed together now. Marley and Me is next to Contemporary Cases in U.S. Foreign Policy. it goes on and on like this throughout all of the shelves. i would have had a small freakout moment about this a few years ago, but not now.
i guess what i’ve come to realize in life is, we are not color-coordinated. we aren’t always stacked shortest to tallest and sometimes even the intellectuals who only buy local need to to interact with the wal-mart shoppers of the world.
we like to live in this universe where we are separated by our interests, intellect and our incomes. we stereotype those different from us so that we can justify not having to “deal” with them. we organize our group hangouts with people who are very much the same as us.
i went to two new year’s eve parties this year. and at these parties were vastly different types of people. at one, i think if you did not have at least three inches of beard and a pbr in your hand you had to pay an extra cover charge. oh and it was even more if you had showered that week. no.. i’m just kidding. i love my hipster friends. they don’t smell that bad and they do shower (there i go with the stereotyping). at the other, since i did not grow up in hudsonville, i was an outsider. well there were two other people not from hudsonville so maybe i shouldn’t be complaining. (if you know anything about hudsonville or stereotypes, they both go hand in hand. if you want to live in a conservative suburbia town, hudsonville is for you. if not, you will not enjoy it at all).
the one thing that stood out to me the most was how different my friends were and how much i love that. i definitely do not agree with all of their opinions or their grooming habits. i can’t pretend that we like the same music or even worship the same God. i know for a fact that none of them love panda bears as much as i do (yea that’s right) and i also know i will never wear red skinny jeans like some of them do (yes they do make red skinny jeans, i was appalled as you are).
but isn’t that what life is about?
instead of searching for similarities in others that gives us a faulty sense of security,we need to find the diversity in people and celebrate the differences that make us so unique.
the world is full of people who are trying only to find others who are just like themselves. instead, i wonder what life would look like if everyone surrounded ourselves with people with different stories, different skin shades, different backgrounds and different voting records. yikes.