Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What if?

The circumstances of one's upbringing almost completely shapes how they are the rest of their life. Think about it: did how you were raised affect some, if not all, of your personality traits, likes, dislikes, pretty much "who you are"? Now, nothing more can be said without looking at individual case by case analysis, because for one conclusion, there can always be found an opposing one.

This is very interesting to me because when I meet someone drastically different than me I often wonder, could I have been like them if put in their situations and family? It's also interesting because that question can't really ever be answered. Could changing one thing in my life, say having two sisters, instead of one, or not having a sister at all, completely change my personality, views and outlook on life? If not completely, maybe in a small way? Hmmm, maybe. I seem to have a lot of friends that grew up in Auburn. Being a small town and them all sharing that experience (if nothing else), lends me to sort of compare them to each other. They all are pretty different (of course) but I've noticed when "they" (lol) get together their conversations seem radically different than if they were talking with anyone else, but I digress. I've noticed: they all really like to read and are very literature-literate. This really becomes apparent when "they" come together. I'm not saying that no one else outside Auburn has this in common, but for the most part, Auburnites do.

I think I should pause here and address the fact that I'm putting forth a sterotypeish statement. It’s just something I’ve noticed, which may be wrong, and stupid, but either way, I find it intriguing. If I had grown up in Auburn, would I also have read all the classics (and remembered what they were about?)? Would I send out a scholarly vibe and know tons of professors? Ok, so maybe that last one isn't really a personality trait, but it might change a lot of things (such as how I view school, or a particular subject, or my opportunities once in school).

If I grew up in Auburn would I be as religious as I am? Growing up, it never occurred to me some people worry about what the parish thought of their family or “how much everyone knows” about this or that drama. If I did, would that impact my church life? If I grew up in Auburn and got to experience so many faithful people and have tons of opportunities to grow in my faith, would it lead me closer, or drive me away? I don’t know. I guess it’s a safe bet to thank God for the path He lead me on, knowing now this is where I am.

Getting to know people who grew up in Auburn is interesting too. Just the other day, I was talking to a girl who moved to Auburn when she was pretty young. She is one of the Auburnites that I think are really smart and cooler than me. She was talking about how she never has really traveled. Hearing this always makes me sad, because traveling has always been a big part of my life and relationships. It also triggered a memory of a recent similar conversation. Someone was talking about how they needed to travel more because they’ve only really seen the south. But anyway, I’ve always thought that she was in this secret “I know about books” club, but now I’ve realized we are just in different clubs, so to speak. Would she be different (and maybe not have read as much, lol) if she traveled as much as I have? Would I see the world a little less beautiful if I didn’t see it with my own eyes, but instead read about it?

I’m not staying one is better than the other. In fact I think most people want what they didn’t have. Only children wish they could have had siblings. Oldest children wish they could be the youngest. “If my mother only let me take ice skating lessons.” “I could never do anything fun because my parents didn’t trust me.”

I suppose what it comes down to is, will you raise your children the way your parents raised you? (Well, I guess that depends on how you feel about your upbringing.) But really, what you do with them, how you react to them, and where they are raised, really influences a person. And even then, it could go either way. It kinda scares me when I think about it.

But right now I will just continue to ponder the alternate possibilities of life and be grateful for what I have. People are really cool.

Peace and love!

1 comment:

  1. I think growing up in Auburn has a pretty profound effect on a person. Many people from Auburn are children of professors and, if not, are at least friends with children of professors. Unlike surrounding areas of Alabama, many people in Auburn are from other areas of the country. Even if they are not, they have contact with people who are from different states or countries. That probably the biggest reason my Southern accent is so much less pronounced than my parents, and my interests are highly different.