I just spent a few days with a longtime friend and her family. We’ve known each other since the day before kindergarten and we’ve grown up together in a lot of ways. But because we’ve grown up in the same neighborhood, with the same teachers, with parents that are friends, it makes our differences even more stark.
And it’s not bad. It’s just interesting that despite all these similarities we had as young kids and the similarities we share now, we’ve matured at different rates. Well, we’re both mature in some ways. Like school, for instance. We are both ambitious and “proactive” and focused. But in terms of understanding the world, I know and understand more. I am more mature when it comes to dealing with the world outside our homes. I think I’m more ponderous than she is. I spend more time thinking about ideas and people and stuff than she does. I think I spend more time pondering than she does because I have been exposed to more. Her mother has sheltered her more than my parents’ efforts to (or not to) combined have. I am much more interested, much more observant than she is. She’s like a scientist; she only looks her own experiment and nothing else. I may not have an experiment, but I look at all sorts of pieces of life. I’ve seen more, in a way, than she has. That’s sounds conceited but it’s true. I don’t say it to put her down, but I’ve read and seen (but not experienced) the other side of our dear suburban, sheltered life.
We were watching this t.v. show a few nights ago about a family with teenagers in San Diego. And since it’s t.v. on ABC Family there has to be an underage drinking scene. My friend automatically asserted that that one of the characters was “bad” because he was drinking at a party. And after reading blogs and talking to adults that I trust, I can’t say that about someone. Not wholeheartedly anyways. Yeah, I wouldn’t drink at a party, but I don’t feel comfortable judging people like that. You don’t know what an individual has been through and especially if you’ve only met someone once or you barely know them you don’t know all the good they’ve done and you don’t know all the bad they’ve done. One interaction with another human being can tell you lots about the other person but I don’t believe it permits a serious judgement.
I may be too pluralistic but for goodness sake, I’ve been on tumblr before.
Of course we still judge. I definitely do. I just make an effort to not dwell on them.
Plus, she’s an only child. And I really believe that having at least one sibling changes you more than having no siblings at all. All attention is focused on the one child and it’s all catered to he or she. And when you have siblings, you aren’t the priority anymore. And if you are the oldest, like I am, then you better figure out how to do some stuff yourself, because your younger sibling(s) need more help than you do.
It’s amusing to think about how we started the same, and while we are still friends, our minds are in different places.
Stuff like that catches my attention. And it just forces me to puzzle how we fit together. All our differences and our similarities. How our experiences and the people we spend our time with change how we piece ourselves together.
It’s a thought that will be pondered for as long as I live.