I once met a man from Japan.
(He was over-the-top, I admit.)
Upon his approach, while most others ran,
for a moment with him I did sit.
here I was at the bar with this interesting fellow. Instantly I was beautiful, all women were fascinating, and before one could pronounce Owariasahi, I had already turned down several invitations for a date. I tried squirming away to another area where I could pass on ordering a beverage (since I didn’t want him to think I’d actually go out with him); however, drinks did pour. I further insisted, over and over, that I had other plans—tonight, tomorrow, and, yes, the day after.
I saw him two or three times after our first encounter; we shared a few laughs, a couple more drinks, some interesting stories, and have since become quite friendly. He has traveled the world, has much to say, and carries a wonderful zest for life. (All things I appreciate!)
Initially he was too much, too quick, but after delicate placements of a few social cues throughout our encounters, he has proven to be great company.
Unfortunately, not everyone gives this man the same chance to shine. He has expressed that all too often he is misunderstood by many, especially women, and repeatedly judged by other men, especially when speaking with women of races and cultures other than his own.
It broke my heart to learn that he has been turned down for various social events and gatherings. I can only imagine the beatings his heart endures after so many repeated rejections, by women and men alike.
For now, he still lights up whenever we meet. Thus, I dedicate the following poem to him:
Likeness of a Rose
If there is a God
He (or She) is in the petals,
mark my words.
With veins of wine,
in a vase of sand.
If you felt it
would just know.
Gardens or garbage cans,
once the same.
I fell short,
convinced I was headed
for the dumpster.
just like that,
you handed me a budding smile.
here is beauty in diversity.
I mean, once you get past the oddities, strangeness, and unfamiliarity of a situation you're so used to avoiding.
But how odd, strange and unfamiliar can one person really be from another? According to the Smithsonian Institution, the genetic difference between individual humans is really only 0.1% on average. Think for a moment what an enormous effect social economics and human behavior plays into that 0.1% difference! (Kind of mind boggling, really.)
Insurance salesman, motivational speaker and avid reader, Charlie "Tremendous" Jones once said: "You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read."
So, if you pretty much stay the same unless you expose yourself to people and content different from the "who" and "what" you know today, I pose the following "If/Then" longitudinal challenge to answer the age-old question of the same name:
Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?
IF you encounter a person different from yourself and instinctively feel the need to flee (assuming you're not in any danger!), stay. Be present. Listen. Engage. Ask questions. Share. Smile.
THEN...observe what happens next. If you like the result, repeat. If not, repeat.
IF you encounter more challenging reading material that would normally not appeal to you due to its difficult nature, keep reading. Re-read. Interpret. Analyze. Aim for understanding.
THEN...share your newfound knowledge with someone else. Notice how much you remember when you attempt to inform another person of the very same content.
IF you need some inspirational, motivational Internet viewing content throughout the challenge, watch this video:
THEN...recall a time when you didn't instantaneously label someone before actually meeting and/or getting to know them.
Having difficulty? Retry Steps 1 and 2 until you're surrounded by people and content you're proud of. If the two truly shape who you are and become, eventually your new surroundings should instill feelings of pride within yourself.
So, where do you see yourself in five years?
Only time will tell. But, you can tell a lot, in time.
Arunava Bid is a self-taught artist from India, specializing in graphite and charcoal drawings. His featured piece above, titled "Thank You", was created using charcoal on paper.
Find him and more of his incredible work on Facebook: @Arunava Bid