Saturday, May 8, 2010

A New Kind of Normal

Okay, today's thought is going to be a bit meandering, for the sole reason that I don't know where I land on it at the end of the day. I was talking with my friend Lisa about how we go about meeting people. The fact is that for the past four years I have been stuck in a very weird place called Ozark Christian College. I love this school, but one of the weird things is that, because it is so small, you know everyone. And even if you don't talk to every single person, you at least know who everyone is by sight. And if you run into someone you don't know very well, it's perfectly acceptable to just talk to that person like you've always been friends.

But this week I have come to the realization that this is not normal. This is not how real life works. In college, you are surrounded by people that are your same age. Once you get outside of this, there are suddenly people of all ages, so finding people your same age becomes more difficult. And even more difficult is the challenge of becoming friends with people your same age. Not only do you have to find someone in your age bracket, but then you have to have the guts to talk to them, and consistent follow-up, and there's so much to keep you from doing something like that. And as one coming from a "holy hill," it seemed crazy to me to meet someone in such a normal fashion.

So in my discussion with my friend Lisa, I learned that she, too, has been thinking about how people meet people. I quote: "I've always struggled with how much of any of that is determined by the worldly culture (infatuation, lust at first sight in a bar where you're wearing a see through halter)....or how much is just human kind (boy meets girl and there's follow up)....or how much is out of being in a similar circle because of similar values (Christian campus...)."

She also said that "how you meet someone is directly proportional to the kind of person they are." Which I think is a good point. If you meet someone in a bar while wearing a see-through shirt, chances are that he isn't the best kind of guy to meet (or conversely, the girl you picked out with the see-through shirt isn't worth knowing anyway). If you meet a person because you're on the same Christian campus, they'll probably be a Christian, though there is definitely no guarantee.

So at Ozark, if you want to get to know someone or date that person or whatever, the standard behavior is to sit by them in class or during Chapel or whatever. It's really a lot like high school. And it just seems so strange to me, even though it has somehow seemed normal for four years. But I'm leaving this place in less than two weeks, and I'm going to have to get used to a new kind of normal. A real kind of normal, where you meet people by chance rather than orchestration.

I still don't feel like this post is done, but I honestly can't think of anything else to say without sounding incredibly repetitive. It's that whole issue of not having a direction or a solid idea of how I feel about the topic. I don't think I'm going to write another post like this. It makes me feel just as anxious as I felt while watching the entirety of "Punch-Drunk Love," which I hated.


  1. I feel this. I worry sometimes that I'll have trouble making friends after Ozark. Ozark is a relationship-incubator, and not being the most outgoing person in the world, I have no idea how to meet people and make friends out in the "real world." For now, I'll just stick with my original method of repeated facebook pokes.

  2. By the time I got to the end of this post, I felt like you'd said the word "whatever" repeatedly, in a high school cheerleader voice. I was taken aback. I reread the entire post and found that you had, in fact, only used the word "whatever" twice, but it was in the same sentence. Why did this stand out to me? Is it because I'm in the real world or whatever, or is it because I'm "older" or whatever?