Yesterday as I was getting ready to leave for a night out of dancing at the honky tonk, I saw a comment come across my tweet stream. It was from a friend talking about a group in Florida that had an age limit for those wanting to join their Facebook group–45. It made me chuckle, and I of course fired a few jabs their way of pretend shock and outrage–the nerve of this person. A person who was making comments as a group who I had no clue about. For me it was all in good fun and I headed off to a fun night of dancing.
This morning I found a comment back from the age biased offender and it got me to thinking about the tapestry of my life, and how that tapestry has changed in less than 10 years.
Once upon a time, the people who surrounded me and almost all of my friends were mostly like me. We were the same age, the same color, had the same religious views–it was a pretty homogenized existence. It was my corner of the world and I didn’t know anything but that type of lifestyle. I was very close minded to anything outside of what was considered normal in my corner of the world.
Then I met Michael. Michael is smart, funny and someone who I admire greatly. When I met Michael, I had no idea that he was gay. Yes, I was that innocent. Michael would help me to learn tolerance, and my mind began to open up a bit to the fact that there were different types of people in the world, different lifestyles and philosophies. It was ok to be outside of what I considered to be the norm. I have several friends who are gay now, I just think of them as my friends, there’s no label attached. They are great friends who add to my life, and who have been there through some very tough times. I look at what I would have missed if I ruled people that are *that way* out of my life.
When I worked at the college, part of my job was to take photos around campus. I was always encouraged to take photos with more diversity–meaning photos of people who were not white. With the student population 99% white, that was certainly a challenge. Through Twitter, and my move to Texas, my circle of friends includes people of all shapes and sizes and colors and my life is so much richer for the experience. Last night after dancing a group of us went to breakfast at IHOP. Joe, who is a new friend, who is originally from Pakistan shared some great stories about his life growing up and things that influenced him. He talked about coming to the US to attend college and then later bringing the rest of his family to the US. Once again, had I ruled out people just because of the color of their skin I would have missed an opportunity to surround myself with people who inspire and encourage me every day.
In Ohio, there were a few raised eyebrows when I went out and did fun things with my kids and their friends. Once again, that’s outside of the norm. One must stick with those in their age group. In Texas, I have friends of all different ages, and I enjoy spending time with them. Most of the people on my team at work are quite a bit younger than I am. I think they keep me young, and I think that they make it easier to be away from my daughters. I’ve adopted quite a few of them. I can go out an party and dance with that group of people and have just as much fun as they do. I don’t sit on the sidelines and watch, I jump right in with them and enjoy whatever adventure life brings our way.
All of these people, this variety of experiences enrich my life. Ruling people out because of age, race, religious background or sexual orientation just doesn’t make sense to me. By doing those kinds of things, you rule out the options to learn and grow from new challenges and experiences and to weave new threads into the tapestry of your life.
Everyone is the age of their heart. ~Guatemalan Proverb