Appreciate the importance of individuality


Appreciate the importance of individuality
By JACKIE CUMMINGS

Yes, I’m a bit eccentric. This is not new news to anyone who has spent more than five minutes within a 500-foot range of me. I am loud, fanatical, and oftentimes, a bit overdramatic.

People either like that about me or they don’t. But either way, I haven’t changed.

In today’s diverse society, one would think acceptance to be a growing trend, yet I see more of an increase in intolerance than in acceptance. This disturbs me. Have you ever heard the phrase “It takes all kinds”?

Seriously, people. It does.

I can’t imagine what the world would be like if everyone was like me. Nobody would ever be able to drive (due to lost car keys), everyone would be too afraid to fly on airplanes (putting the airlines out of business and sharply diminishing intercontinental exploration) and nothing, I mean nothing, would remain of the world’s vast coffee supply.

Does that sound fun to you?

I love that my friends and family are complete opposites of me. My sister loves NASCAR, my best friend is the biggest homebody I know and my favorite co-worker snacks on soybeans because she actually LIKES them.

And while these are things I’ll never understand, or enjoy myself, they give me something to think about and appreciate in all of them.

I do enjoy similarities with many people in my life, too. Most of my closest friends and I share common tastes in music, food and entertainment options. Yet, often enough, I will order something at a restaurant or suggest an outing idea, and one of them will immediately give me a look that suggests I’ve just made the most ridiculous request they have ever heard.

You know what I do then? I laugh. And what would the world be without laughter, after all?

My eccentricity can be measured only by putting it up against somebody else’s calm and methodical way of living. Therefore, I wouldn’t be viewed as eccentric at all if everyone else was as batty and off-the wall as some say I am.

Which I never deny.

It’s true that some people just don’t click due to a vast difference in opinion and lifestyle. I understand that. But simple judgment based on a five-minute experience with someone is by no means giving any value to the many other facets that person may possess.

I would much rather go through life being the only person who gets funky in her car to Neil Diamond songs. I mean, if everyone thought they were a Cracklin’ Rosie, then where would my close, personal relationship with Neil be?

Hopefully, in time, more people will begin to appreciate and value the importance of individuality in our society. Without it, the world would be only one flavor instead of 31, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I could settle on one flavor of ice cream for the rest of my life.

I guess if I had to, it would be Neapolitan. It has a little bit of something for everyone. Kind of like me.

FYI
Individualism is not something I have always desired for myself. In the first grade, many of the students in my class were Jewish, so when Rosh Hashanah came around, I told my teacher that I was Jewish, too.

You wouldn’t believe the look on my mother’s Episcopalian face when she came to the next parent-teacher conference and was greeted with a Shalom!

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