Recently while on a girls weekend trip, I was told that I was worldly. Worldly as defined by me, is nothing of who I am but wish I could be. Worldly as defined by the American Heritage Dictionary means:
1. Of, relating to, or devoted to the temporal world.
2. Experienced in human affairs; sophisticated or worldly-wise.
So, as you can see I was very interested in hearing more about why this group of gals looked at me as worldly. Especially given that we have been friends since Kindergarten, grew up in the very same neighborhood of shelteredness and stayed local for our college studies. But this past weekend while away for a girls trip in Chicago, they considered me worldly.
The closest to worldly I ever became was in eighth grade when our teacher, Sister Felixa, had us tell the news in Social Studies via a Trip Around the World Game. Now it would be important to know that our beautiful little teacher really was not very worldly and junior high children can play unfairly sometimes. So, I do not think the information I gained back then helped my case of worldliness.
As mentioned, I stayed local for my collegiate studies so a 17.5 mile commute to and from campus daily does not give one a title of worldly. Certainly an interdisciplinary major of Criminal Justice does not make one aware of the world but it does teach various forms of human interaction, social behaviors and relations to others.
Well maybe it was post college when I ventured across the United States on a two and half day trip to California via a train. That’s right, I am not afraid to fly, I just like to explore alternative methods of transportation. Besides, planes and cars cannot take you where trains can. In fact, everyone reading this should book a trip via train for a minimum of two days to experience the art of train travel. I do know having a coach seat, with strangers from all parts of the world for two days can make you in tune to world events and cultures but after the final stop, you really can’t wear a t-shirt that says:
So you can see my point. I have never been outside of the United States other than a brief trip many years ago to Niagara Falls in January when the temps were a frigid -80 degrees. Maid of the Mist was taken over by the Greek God Boreas. And let me tell you, that man has some icy cold breath! So other than being a bit wind-blown, having frostbite and a brief encounter with Elvira in the wax museum, I would classify my excursion through customs as the polar opposite of worldly.
So how did I become so worldly? How was I connecting with so many people on such a worldliness scope? Since I have been officially classified as worldly and this claim was backed by one other person other than myself, I have to own it. I may even have to live up to some pretty high worldly’esque standards. But first I need to know how I got to this place. These are my thoughts:
1) Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. Not the book studying sense but the get out there and live it approach of studying. Take my college sociology class. We were given the option to reasearch and write or become and write. I choose the become and write. So, on a Friday eve in the frigid month of February, along with a few other classmates, I was dropped off in a town with a backpack, blanket and travel pillow and was told, “See you Sunday morning.” We had to navigate the streets with no money and find food, shelter and warmth. What an eye-opening experience. Especially when you realize, some people live this lifestyle day in and out. The most surprising part, was the majority of those living this way with little to no income, were nothing like the stereotype they were given. They each had a story, a reason, a passion to learn from.
2. Trains, Planes and Automobiles. When it comes to modes of transportation, I’d gladly take the train. The winding rails through hills, valleys, mountains and plains is like no other adventure. Staring out into the wilderness or stopping at a depot station where you engage with the local people is fascinating to me. Depending on the transfer, you might even have a few hours to briefly get out and explore. Nothing says seeing a million places in a 10 day trip like train riding.
3. Books, Internet and Cell Phones. I take notes constantly via my cell phone. Then I reasearch later via books and the internet. Sometimes I overhear people order a coffee drink and I wonder how the name of their drink was derived. Take the Americano for example. Google that drink and see what comes up. Being mindful of your surroundings is interesting. Researching what you see or hear is education.
4. People, Places and Things. I ask questions, a lot of them, when I go to a new place. I talk to people when standing in line for soymilk, flax-seed and wheatgrass. I use my five senses when looking at things. I don’t just look at a flower but think about how it grew, what it might smell like, is it edible and what it sounds like when it is blowing in the wind. I am constantly tapping in and exploring.
5. Up, Down and Around. I turn things upside down. Not all things have one view. I look at something from a different angle and see how it changes my thoughts.
6. My Way, your Way and this Way. I take the many sides approach. We all have our opinions but my how much we can learn if we are open to others interpretations. Looking at something from many perspectives teaches different thoughts rather than just one outlook. I love to explore the other possibilities, options and ways.
7. Blah, Blah and Blah. I bottle up the mundane and seal it tight. Nothing says boring like the same old routine. I often take another way home just for the chance to change it up. Sometimes I even embrace chaos. Or perhaps it would sound better if I say go with the flow. When I try to resist the very thing that is breaking my routine, it ends up swallowing me whole. Thus, I believe, sometimes you just need to go with the flow!
8. Blog, Blogger and Blogging. I have only been blogging for a few months now but I have been virtually introduced to other countries, cultures and people via this little place known as WordPress. Where can one go to write their stories and ideas, share them with others and then connect or just view the world from another’s photos, videos or script? Right here!
So, is it because I have a mindful way of learning that makes me worldly? Is it that I love a good adventure? Perhaps it is that I am not of fan of routines. Maybe just maybe since I have been blogging I have become so much more aware of the world. Thus, the reason why my childhood friends are just now considering me as worldly.
So, I pose a few questions. What is your definition of worldly? Has blogging and viewing blogs on WordPress made you more worldly?