The Universe behaves in mysterious ways. One never knows what life lessons may be on the horizon, if they just open their eyes open wide enough to see. Tonight I had one of those moments, a moment that certainly reaffirmed my faith in the universal spirit of life.
One of the things I have long said is that a person should never, ever stop learning, no matter how old. I believe with the utmost importance that part of that learning includes an individual questioning everything on a constant basis, even their most affirmed and confirmed beliefs. This the only way to ensure validity remains constant throughout our existence!
Never before have I have ever been so convinced about the importance of questioning everything and taking the time to look at the other side of the equation than tonight.
You see, for the longest of times, one of the things I hated about my country was Generica America. Traveling from town to town, and seeing the same old stores in every American strip mall irks my soul in a way I cannot describe. After all, when everything’s the same, it’s so boring; so predictable. I like my America like the Wild West. I want to arrive in a city I’ve never been before and see not a single food outlet that I recognize. When I travel, it’s about finding the local culture, the local spots.
And then today happened….
First, I went to Chuck E Cheese’s with my daughter for the first birthday party ever she was invited too. Then, once we came home after a marathon of games and cake and pizza and more games, my daughter chose a Ryan’s World YouTube video about his day at Chuck E Cheese.
Watching that video gave me a revelation. Maybe Generica America isn’t so bad. Maybe everything being so.. similar actually wasn’t so bad after all. You see, as my daughter watched Ryan go through Chuck E Cheese, she was able to identify various games and activities that we had participated in just hours before hand. She at age 4 was able to grasp and express understanding of how much fun Ryan was having because she had just experienced the SAME THING.
So, honoring my own values, I really thought hard about my feelings about Generica America, and with this new information, I reached a new conclusion…. Generica America is tolerable because of the shared cultural experience. Hard to grasp the power of a shared cultural experience?
A great example of a powerful shared cultural experience is the mall Santa Claus. Now imagine growing up in a town without a mall Santa. As odd as that might sound, there are thousands of kids every year that have no mall and no Santa’s lap to sit on.
Does that surprise you? It surprised me as the Mall Santa tradition is something that I grew up and I’ve seen displayed in all the movies
So now when before I would be a bit salty about the commercialism of Generica America, I will now be grateful for the opportunity to partake in such a powerful shared cultural experience.
Ryan Delaney, MA, LPC, CCTP
Trauma Certified Therapist
Licensed Professional Counselor