As many of you know, I am currently taking an on-line class through Stanford University on creativity. I am one of 14,602 students, yikes! (And we thought we had too many when we had 35!)
We were broken down into teams of 5 for the first assignment. The formation of the teams was intended to put together a diverse group. My group has 3 males, 2 females; young and old from all walks of life. We have a gentleman from India, another from New York City and another from the Philipines. The other female in the group is from Frankfurt, Germany. Fortunately, we all speak English!
The first assignment was to get to know each other. We were to identify as many items as possible which we all five have in common. We then need to make a presentation to the class. My team is still tossing around ideas, but I thought you might be interested in my description of myself.
First of all, I reframed the question and asked “What do all people of the world have in common?” I thought this global view would put us in a position to start with similarities which could then be narrowed down. All of us belong to humanity and are subject to the human condition; that irreducible part of us that is inherent and not dependent on factors such as gender, race, class….etc. We all search for the meaning of life and wonder about our existence. We all have a sense of curiosity and all have a history of experience.
I know this question is hugely broad and open to infinite possibilities….but then doesn’t that mean we have and infinite number of things in common? Not all of my team-mates liked this approach, (actually only one acknowledged it and disagreed with it) but it did lead me in my thinking for writing the following description of me.
‘I am an environmentally conscious person and compost, limit my use of plastics, and recycle as much as possible. I believe I am a small part of the world; living with it rather than taking from it or using its resources for my own gain.
‘I try to follow Buddhist principles, but will still kill the cockroaches that dare to make their way into my kitchen cabinets and drawers. I love nature, especially animals. Pets are cool, but the real joy comes in seeing wildlife-whales, dolphins, flamingos, sea turtles, lizards, fox and birds….just to name a few.
‘I am a private person. I am reserved with others until I get to know them and then will open up quite generously. I find I communicate more comfortably in written form than by phone; but prefer face to face. These days language plays a part in this as I lack total confidence in my Spanish which isn’t totally fluent.
‘I am a curious person in that I seek out new experiences..i.e. moving to Peru to retire. I enjoy new tastes in various foods and will try just about anything. I laugh at curiosities; such as seeing a dozen goats hog-tied in the back of an old Datsun station wagon or a mototaxi carrying a refrigerator. Children make me smile with their antics. I enjoy reading books, and though I have several electronic reading devices, find I still like the feel of a book.
‘My true passion is design. I find I have an intense need to create/design. This may take the form of playing the piano, woodworking, drawing mandalas, painting, sewing, quilting, knitting, whatever. All of these activities are like therapy for me, and the true pleasure comes with designing new projects.
I am thankful for family and friends. They are my support beams and I cherish them even though I don’t always let them know this. I hesitate to call on others to help, especially in tough times; having had the motto of “I can do it myself!” from a very early age. I hate to appear weak or incompetent to others and fear being discounted. (What can the baby of the family offer?) I don’t always have much confidence in myself, but am learning to appreciate my abilities and accomplishments. Wasn’t there a book entitled, When I Turn 70 I’ll Wear Purple? I’m not yet 70, but am learning to “wear purple” none-the-less.