Friends with all

And in this corner... | Dec. 28, 2018

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Friends with all

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Coming to year’s end and taking one last look back at 2018, I was asked about the year in review, and I can’t get past the division, polarization, finger pointing and ever-growing chasm among people of black and white, blue and red. And throw in some suspicion, fear, emboldened aggressiveness, road rage and paranoia, too. What a shame. Thinking about all the crazy headlines and the general negative political climate, I thought it might be important to write about something a bit more positive to close out the year.

Speaking in general terms, I find it puzzling when people isolate and do not have any desire to extend themselves to others or seek new experiences. I am fascinated also when people have no interest in other people, mainly because they are, well, other people.

I find life so much more interesting being exposed to new things and new people. It’s much more fulfilling to like all 31 flavors. Friendships with people of all types bring so much more to the table and keeps me learning and gaining more insight to this human existence. “Celebrate diversity” might sound like a cliché or an event poster slogan, but it certainly can make life more enriching. I believe I am made better by people who are nothing like me because of the new perspectives they bring to the table. I actually do enjoy reaching across all aisles to hear what people have to say, find out where they are coming from, where they are going and what tales they may have to share.

When I was in junior high, I remember purposely befriending kids who most represented different cliques or stereotypes. I liked being friends with the heavy-metal guys when I was a punk-rocker. I was also fascinated by the jocks, cheerleaders, preppies and loners. It seemed like an exciting taboo to cross the “title” lines and eat lunch with the kids dressed differently than me. My parents got used to kids coming to the door to hang out who had long hair, short hair, dyed hair, ripped shirts, surf shirts or military uniforms. The full rainbow passed over our thresholds.

And with all that there is to worry about in life, I try to practice the “live and let live” motto. This year in particular I tried to ignore the silly external forces and do what I could, what we all could, to seek out human connections away from the clutter, digital noise, commercials, media blitz and general stimulation overload and have some civility.

If I had to paint a picture or sketch out what I’m trying to say it would be something like this:

I like to be friends with
people on the left, on the right, in the ambivalent middle and those a little off-centered or out of whack.
I like to be friends with artists and engineers.
I like to be friends with anyone who is far better than me in just about everything– art, music, writing, sports or even creating spreadsheets.
I like to be friends with the rebels, instigators, writers and fighters;
The techies, nerds and dreamers;
Those with strong content of character, and those who are just strong characters;
Those politically active and those that are pacifists or passive, and those that occupy, protest and resist;
Investment bankers, collectors and those that have amassed wealth;
Those abundantly rich in personality;
The gay, the straight and the undecided;
Those who kneel and those who don’t believe;
Those who love their faith and leave others to theirs;
The black, the white, the brown and all shades in between;
The anarchists and the traditionalists;
Old schoolers and the new schoolers;
Baby Boomers and Gen X’ers;
The live-wired, alpha-male jock types and the kinder, gentler transgendered;
The talkers, braggarts, storytellers, gift of gabbers and the wallflowers;
Those from broken homes, the latch-key kids and those whose homes are immaculate.

I like to be friends with them all.

It makes life so very, very interesting.

Happy New Year to you all and may all your cups runneth over with joy and human connectivity in 2019.