Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Seeking Something Different

Seeking Something Different - Stacy Snyder - StacySaysIt
I recently took a girls’ trip to South Beach.  We had a ball!  While the weather was spectacular, the accommodations impeccable, and the leisure level well within my range of expectation, I can’t help but note that the most intriguing part of the trip for me was what is produced by adding a new component into the mix, in this case, a new friend to a group of existing friends.

Of the six gals that traveled to Miami together, five of us live in the same neighborhood, where our kids all attended the same elementary school and now attend the same high school. While those factors led to our initial introduction and laid the groundwork for our subsequent friendships, those same elements sometime keep us from digging deeper for conversation as there’s already so much in common.

Lotus, on the other hand, is easily fifteen years our junior, lives in Indiana, has a young son, and commutes daily to a full-time job in Chicago.  I met her by chance a few years ago when she signed up for a park district volleyball league that I play in.  We invited her for drinks after a game one night and we got along famously.  I off-handedly invited her to travel with me sometime as I like to go somewhere every few months to rejuvenate, and she jumped on board immediately with this Miami trip.  While Lotus has exceptional attributes I could rave about, it’s not her personality that made me enjoy our trip so much.  It was her contrasting perspectives to those of mine and my longtime friends that made such a distinction. 

Seeking Something Different - Stacy Snyder - StacySaysitIt’s just like throwing in one new ingredient to the pot, where the flavor of the entire dish changes, evolves, and morphs into something new.  Lotus changed the dichotomy of the group and of the trip itself with her unique interests, character, and viewpoints.  Unbeknownst to her, she opened up the door of difference that allowed each of us push our routine conversations aside in lieu of new topics where lines of connection grew.  We all stretched outside of our comfort zone and a new best beast was born. I love when that happens!

I’m simply a sponge for variety.  As a young person, I spent tons of energy forcing myself outside the lines of sameness by seeking out uncommon people, typically deemed by appearance or actions.  Often I’d push myself to be the most unusual in a crowd.  Today, I still gravitate toward anyone with a different take on life, but it comes from conversation instead of image.  By surrounding myself with so many different models of life, I am constantly fed new ideas and thoughts and viewpoints that help me constantly hone who and what I want to be when I grow up.  It plays out in my work, relationships, social life, interests, and ideas, where I’m constantly a work in progress.

While I have developed strong values and principles over the years and do tend to also surround myself in a safe community of people who share some of the same standards, I’ve been known to soften, negotiate, and even change my convictions based on information I’ve accumulated from other people’s ideas and experiences.  

Variety is central to my existence.  I truly believe that my identity is a collaboration of characteristics and beliefs of all the people I’ve connected with over the years.  Everyone I know was at one point the difference that I sought out that turned into a piece of my character.  Pretty cool to think that I'm carrying a piece of each of you around with me every day!