I didn’t grow up in a family of means. Entertaining ourselves came in the form of riding bikes, playing in the yard, or reading.
When it came to reading, with five kids in the family and a tight budget, there were not trips to the bookstore. My mom took us for regular trips to the library, but I was a fast reader, so often times I’d find myself already through my pile of books before the next jaunt for more reading material.
In the family room bookcase was a set of old encyclopedias and National Geographic magazines, acquired at a junk store or garage sale. When I’d burn through the last of my library books, I’d head to the bookshelf and pick a letter or a month.
Yes. I read encyclopedias in my spare time. Sounds boring, but I loved it. I learned so many different things.
As an adult, I find that my interests are varied. I get excited about all sorts of things. I can be in a group of foodies, techies, artists, or science buffs and take part in the conversation without boring myself (or them) to tears. (If only mom had found a cheap box of Vogue, I could hang with the fashionistas…alas, here I sit in sweatpants)
I can’t help but think that those encyclopedias had something to do with it.
When you are young, there is less fear about being the expert on whatever you have an interest in. Everything is new, so the experience of learning is enough to keep you engaged.
At some point, hopefully not too early, we are introduced to the idea of competition. Then the idea that we must be better than everyone else. That an interest is only worth our time if we can be the best. We start giving ourselves titles like “expert”, “master”, and “guru”. The things in which we can attribute greatness to ourselves become our interest.
So here’s the thought for Friday: Just be interested.
Everything in life doesn’t have to be about being the best. I guarantee, 99% of people calling themselves any of the aforementioned things are not the best and brightest in their area of interest.
Enjoy things because you enjoy them. And guess what? When you let yourself be interested, you become more interesting.
And, as a total non sequitur, I bring you:
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. Go learn something new.
Currently Listening to: I Just Don’t Think I’ll Get Over You by Colin Hay