Lesson #35: Culture is all around you.

8/23/14.

Today I learned that you don’t need to go to somewhere exotic or foreign to immerse yourself in culture.

Culture is all around you.

Culture is in everyone you come across each day.

Most of us forget this on a daily basis.

But what makes life so interesting, is people.

Today, my rainy day became a little bit brighter when I talked to a man sitting behind his booth at the farmer’s market. He was playing an instrument that I had never seen, so I approached him and asked him about it, and we ended up in full, interesting conversation about mandolas, music, and life.

As we get older, we tend to shrink into our own bubbles. I find myself guilty of doing this lately. We stop waving “hi” to our neighbors as we leave the neighborhood, we dodge people we know in Walmart, and even more sad— we don’t even say “hello” or “good morning” or simply smile at people as they walk by.

We look down, and continue to live in our own worlds.

A lot of the time, we just don’t have time.

I get it.

But I also get this.

It’s not just a lack of time. It’s that we only talk to people if they are of value to us. If they have something to offer. If they can do something for us.

And honestly, how shallow does that sound?

If we create a little bit of time each day to reach out to a stranger, or an acquaintance, or a peer— someone we don’t talk to regularly — we can learn a lot about the world. About things we didn’t know. About things we have never seen.

And you can teach them in return.

You may enjoy yourself. You may even make a new friend.

Or maybe not.

But not everything in life needs result, or gain.

Maybe you just need a good conversation.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, or how young you are.

Without interaction, without diversity, life grows dull.

Make plans to go to Venice, or Africa, or London, or Belgium.

Until then, talk to the person sitting next to you on the bus.

Or the person in class.

Culture is all around you.

Just look up.

Day Thirty-Five.

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