People are like characters in a book

I recently moved across the country.  When I was 20 and had graduated college, I moved to Kentucky from California.  Recently, I moved back.  As I drove across the country from KY to CA, I watched snow covered roads become a warm rain- bright green landscape turn to dessert.

I got to experience 2 very different ways of living.  I loved and enjoyed both, but the experience taught me how quickly something atypical becomes normal.

When I moved out to KY, I remember being amazed at how different everything was from people, to trees, to climate.

San Jose, California average rain fall is 13.9 inches.  Northern Kentucky gets 40.i inches.  California is a costal state whereas KY is landlocked.  California is considered very liberal whereas northern Kentucky is very conservative.  KY is filled with trees, CA tends to keep most of its trees in national parks.

Within a few short years, it became normal for me to watch thunderstorms in the middle of summer, and throw snowballs in the winter.  Until then, I had never lived in a place that is rains in the summer and snows in the winter.  But, now back in CA, I miss the thunderstorms.  I miss the snowballs (but not the driving in the snow :D )

While climate is the easiest aspect to notice, the harder one to adjust to is the social difference.  Kentucky stretched and strengthened my acceptance muscles.  Never before had I been in a place where prejudices were not only condoned but expected. Where some people still thought a woman’s place is in the home – barefoot and pregnant preferably.

The more time I spent with these people, the more I understood their point of view (notice I did not say agree).  It reminded me the first time I realized people were like characters in a book (or characters in a tv show if you like).

When I was younger, 8 or 10 maybe, I noticed I was a lot more tolerant of people in books than I was of them in real life.  I accepted characters for who they were and loved them more for their quirks and what made them stand out.  It shifted my thinking, everyone became their own main character with stories to tell and adventures to lead.  Most people are very diverse.  I might not like 1 or 2 things they do, but that does not mean I should throw the baby out with the bath water.

I love the characters in books because I take the time to get to know them.  I get to see their motivations and how they adapt to life.  I get to watch them grow through their trials, some grow faster then others and some require more lessons from the school of hard knocks.

So I shifted my thinking, everyone is a friend I just have not met yet.  Everyone has at least one interesting story.  When I went to KY, I had to focus more on accepting people for who they were, and getting to know other parts about them.

After a while of accepting who they were and listening to them talk out how they got to be where they were, they seemed to become more accepting themselves.  Someone I worked with who was not ok with women working, said to me after a couple years, “I don’t always like it, but I accept that women can and do have a place in the work place”.  This was a major step for him.  When I quit my job, he was actually sorry to see me go and made sure I had his email address.

When I let go, and accept people as they are, I am free to listen to their experiences and get to know them for who they are.  And while I learn about them, they get to know me, and hopefully they get to learn some positive characteristics from me.  As i get to know them, it is easier for me to accept them for who they are, the parts i like and the parts i don’t.  I may not chose to spend lots of time with them as i chose to surround myself with loving open people, but I can accept them regardless.

Adrienne :)

  • Share/Bookmark

Leave a Reply