Mindful, creative, colourful living.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Not Peas In A Pod

Sometimes I feel like I’m living on a  different planet from the people I run into almost daily. Yesterday, I met a man who told me quite abruptly that he’d only read one book in his life. I was waiting to get served at the newsagent, in my hand I had next week’s television guide. (I get my mother the magazine every week.)

The man was also queuing to be served. He turned to me and said, “It’s a good mag that for keeping up with the soaps.”

“Oh,” I replied, “I wouldn’t know, I get it for my mother. I don’t watch a lot of television.”

He gave me a look of horror, and then said, “Huh! How do you get the evenings in?”

“I read quite a bit,” I replied.

“Aghh! I don’t have time for books. I’ve only ever read one book in my entire life,” he answered, before turning away and ignoring me as if I had the plague.

I’d estimate the man was in the same age bracket as myself, so I was a little shocked by his revelation. But each to their own.

His reaction got me thinking, though, about how some folk are very quick to dismiss other people because of their likes, dislikes and even the clothes they wear.

I don’t care whether or not this man reads, doesn’t read or watches television until his eyes bleed, but my reading habits offered him so much concern that he felt it his duty to end the conversation pronto.

I’ve had similar experiences when I tell people that I’m not overly keen on sport, and when I explain that I don’t drink alcohol.  What is your problem people? Don’t you realise that we’re not all peas in a pod?

In my view, modern life has turned much of the population into stereotypes. Many people do stuff because it’s what everyone else is doing and because it's what they are expected to do. They buy the same things, wear the same clothes and embrace the same lifestyles because ‘it’s what you do.’ Not only that, they expect everyone they meet to act similarly.

When you stray away from the stereotypical view of how society expects you to behave, people automatically go on the defensive. You have broken their boundaries, and they don’t know how to react, other than to guard what they perceive as ‘normal.’ 

But, what is normal?

To me, ‘normal’ is reading, writing, drawing, eating a healthy plant-based diet, living as creatively as I can and trying to improve my knowledge of the world and my skills every day.

To other people, normal may mean watching loads of television, drinking copious amounts of alcohol and eating junk food by the bucketful. But it's none of my business what other people do, or how they entertain themselves; also, I ‘m not going to treat anyone any differently because of their choices.

In my lifetime, I’ve met lots of people, all with differing views on what they perceive as normal. Many of these people are now close friends. Some do not share my opinion of normality, others do. However,  we all respect and value for each other's point of view.

Normal is, as normal does. It's up to the individual to decide what's normal for them, but, also, to remember that others may not share their belief.

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  1. We are all different, sometimes we shock each other. I sometimes wish I were more adventurous, but then it wouldn't be me.

    1. Hi, Christine. Thank you for commenting. Yes, we are all different. Everyone has a right to be themselves.

  2. We are all different, we are all individual …

    I love books. I encouraged my children to read and I now encourage my grandchildren to read …
    There's nothing better than a real book - I'm not a kindle (or similar) lover, although I know many who do like them.

    Happy March wishes.

    All the best Jan

    1. Hi, Jan. Thank you for commenting. I've always been a reader. At school I was ahead of everyone in my class when it came to reading. I guess being off school so much due to illness had a lot to do with that. I had no computers or phone to keep me amused, so I read. I had a similar view of e-readers until recently. I ran out of space to store books, but the e-reader is a good solution.

  3. I'm a big reader too and adhere to the "whatever floats your boat" mantra for everyone else. Makes life easier :)

    1. Thank you, Sal, for commenting. I really don't care what anyone else does. each to their own.