Are We Ourselves: Who Shapes Your Tastes?

Think back at what initially sparked your interest in some of your favorite sports, hobbies, tastes in music, books, even foods that you love through the years. How many of these things did we plunge into ourselves, and how many others did we get into through friends, family members, the media, or other outside people sources?

Who shapes your tastes in this day and age? Do we really seek to do things on our own or are we seeking validation through the comfort of others?

Bowling for me started when I was 4. My parents bowled 6 nights a week at the lanes. Living in a small town it was one of the major hubs for entertainment. I loved watching it, so picking up a ball was a natural thing for me. 34 years later it’s still exciting for me to learn more about the game, enjoy the friendships I’ve made and also become very good at this.

Music became a passion during junior high. I would devour any music magazine I could get my hands on and listen to late night hard rock shows on the weekends to keep up on all of the latest bands. My record collection grew exponentially as I had a part time job to fund my habit, then I would go to shows monthly at the big arena 20 minutes south of where I lived. Once I started deejaying school dances in my teens, I think I spent about $25,000 on music and equipment to keep up with our shows.

Writing is something I’ve always done hand in hand with reading. I think my mother always read to us as kids, so I developed an interest in this during my early elementary years. I would sit in my bed room thinking up plots, character names and outlines, and plunge right into telling stories. When I’ve wanted to learn more, I’ve never hesitated to plunge headlong into finding the right book or magazine to know more and grow more.

Adoption has been an interest since meeting my wife. We knew that we were destined to adopt early on within our marriage. We had deep discussions about where we stood in terms of trying to use fertility medications and once we both saw a Wednesday’s Child episode on our local television program, we knew that adopting children from our state program would be the best course of action for children.

I attempt to influence my friends in some of these interests, but I also respect the fact that not everyone I know will be into all of the same hobbies and interests that I champion. My wife for instance isn’t a fan of all the self-improvement books I read or audio material I take in. We can agree to have our own interests and still find enough common ground to love and grow.

Look into your own world and see who has shaped your tastes through the years. How many things that you do are things you discovered on your own? How many have you kept up on from childhood through today?

Remember that you can take up a new hobby or interest today- it doesn’t matter how young or old you are. If you feel like your life is stagnant, go take that new college course to improve your skills- be it acting, singing, computers, history, finances, whatever. Sign up for that gym membership and get those endorphins running daily. Go to the library and seek out language skills through audio or visual materials.

Encourage your children to discover their passions. They may not be your own- and that’s perfectly acceptable. You may learn a thing or two from their excitement that you can channel into your own life.

Signing off for now as my wife watches one of her major passions- the Criminal Minds season five premiere. I feel like in another life she should be a detective, she so enjoys the investigation process…

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