For most of my childhood, I felt sort of weird -- a bit different. I liked being around adults. I never watched cartoons. Dateline was my favorite show. Seriously. Some would say I was a bit of an introvert. I was very sensitive and tended to internalize everything.
That's not to say I was this friendless, sad child. Luckily I had some great friends, but just sort of straddled two different groups of people. In my regular classes I always felt smarter than the average, yet in my honors/AP classes I felt like a small fish in a big pond. Many were light years ahead, intelligence-wise. That was really hard for me. It wasn't the competition that was frustrating -- it was my lack of competitive drive that troubled me. I was scared to really put myself out there and take on the super smart kids. Years of introspection later and that character flaw has followed me along my journey to adulthood.
The best of the best have always intimidated me. The last year or so found me meeting more and more ambitious, inspiring people. I came to realize that you don't have to be an expert. No one knows everything. A client recently said: "most smart people are idiots." Something about that really stuck with me. You know when you're a kid and you think your parents (or in my case my Dad) knew everything about everything? Well, it turns out they didn't. Sometimes I still call my parents and assume they'll have the answers. I believe that's every child's right. Yet, now more than ever before, I understand that learning never ends. If you're not curious to know more...well you're not going to know more.
I know the average person isn't as curious as I am. I've been asking countless questions of everyone I meet as long as I can remember. I'm sure a first date with me is super fun. Kidding. Sort of. The idea behind this was always, well how can I not ask if I'm curious? Is that normal? Probably not.
My feelings of "outsideness" have actually led to some of the hardest, most rewarding conversations I've ever had. The people doing the most interesting, disruptive (and I mean that in the best possible way) things aren't cookie-cutter, Jewish lawyers from Westchester (sorry Mom...and Grandma). They're weirdos like me. There are no "smart kids" anymore to be intimidated by. We are all idiots just doing the best we can and following our curiosities wherever they may lead. No one is sure. Single, married, male, female...no one has a clue. If you really think about it, is there anything more comforting than that?
This post had a point when I started writing it, but somehow I can't remember what that was. I guess I've been trying to figure out what I want out of certain relationships I've found myself in (platonic and otherwise). Which led to me to think about how different the people I surround myself now versus five years ago -- the quality over quantity argument and all that. The best of the best no longer intimidate me...in fact I find myself wanting to sit across the table from them and just listen.
It's okay to be unsure. It's okay (great even!) to ask questions. Being comfortable is nice, but comfortable never gets you to face hurting because you can't stop smiling. Trust me...let's be unsure together.