Adrian Stephens's Blog - Posts Tagged "usc"

It seems like such a simple thing. Fitting in. No matter our age or place in life, we are a society of people who want to fit in. We need to fit in. Right now, if you are telling your computer screen, "I don't need to fit in with anyone," ask yourself how hard you try to fit in with those people who don't like to fit in with anyone else.

No matter what our interests are, we like to find others who share our interests. That may not mean we want to necessarily do the popular thing, that which 'everyone' else is doing, but we want at least someone else who we can share our interests with. Whether we realize it or not, and even whether we need it or not, it gives us some sort of validation to know that there is someone else (and hopefully more than one) on this planet who sees things the way we do.

But, what about being unique? If we have this underlying need to find things in common, how can we be ourselves? I think we can all agree that just because we find people who share some of our likes doesn't mean we have anyone who shares all of our likes.

I like to read, write, bowl, golf, play piano, sing at the top of my lungs in the car, practice Taekwondo and hang out with friends. Some of you may be saying, "yeah, I like all of that stuff too." Great! I'm a diehard St. Louis Rams fan (some small part of me must like to suffer), a diehard St. Louis Cardinals fan, a St. Louis Blues fan (no, I'm not from St. Louis), a Lakers fan, a USC fan and a UNLV Rebels fan. Not necessarily in that order. I would imagine that I lost a large chunk of things in common with people from the first group above.

If any of you are still hanging on, I like to watch Fringe, Lost (when it was on), Revenge, Grey's Anatomy and...Glee.

Still have the same tastes? Let's try music. My favorites all-time would be Elton John, Journey, Queen, Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, Madonna, The Beatles. I like Taylor Swift, Daughtry, movie scores (anything by John Williams, but lots of others too) and *gasp* some Eminem (though I could do without the language-don't ask me how that makes sense).

If anyone out there checked off every item on my list, send me a message...I've always wanted to meet my twin.

The thing is, I can find plenty of people who like each and every one of the things I mentioned separately, some who like many of the things I've mentioned, and yet I uniquely like all of these things together. That's what makes me...me. None of my likes, strange as they may seem to you, bring harm to others.

Being the father of two boys in elementary school, I see them trying to make these connections with kids in their classrooms. I help out at their school one day a week, and I see how all of these kids, not just mine, are looking to form bonds with one another, friendships that they may keep for much, if not all, of their lives. It's important. Sadly, some kids, and even some adults, don't realize that they don't have to tear down others just to prove that they fit in better. If we search hard enough, we will see that we have much more in common with our enemies than we think, and we have probably a lot less in common with our friends than we realize, if we were ever brave enough to open ourselves up that much.

I'm not suggesting that everyone could or would be able to be friends with everyone else if we just tried a little harder. Some of our likes are just too different and too important to us to be able to want to spend time together. But, that's okay. It would just be nice to see that people didn't have to hate each other for their differences. Or even if it's not hate, it would be nice to see people not teased endlessly for their differences.

When I wrote the title for this blog, I was going to write about how the book industry tries to fit everything into a genre, even if it has to be forced. Could I have gotten more off track? Well, I'll save that for my next post. For now, as we grow ever nearer the holiday season, whether you celebrate, Christmas, Hanukkah, or any other holiday, I hope we can all take just a few moments to appreciate the commonalities as well as the differences of the people who we share space with.

Just a reminder that you can find In My Shoes available in your favorite formats. Christmas is just around the corner, and In My Shoes would make a great gift for your son, daughter, niece, nephew, brother or sister. Find it in the following formats:

Kindle
Amazon hardcover
NOOK
Barnes and Noble hardcover
adrianstephens.com (multiple formats)
smashwords (multiple formats)
iBookstore
Sony Reader