Why I Won't Be Just An Average
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Why I Won't Be Just An Average

I couldn’t narrow it down and I didn’t want to.

Why I Won't Be Just An Average
Shannon Steffen

Every couple months I am reminded of the quotes and studies that say something along the lines of “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

While I find that this is something really interesting and thought-provoking to consider, I don’t think it is accurate for me in my life. The first time I heard something like this, I scrambled to think of the first five people that came to mind. Does my mom count? My dog? What if I hang out with three of my best friends the exact same amount? Did I even see one of them at all last week?

This brought on a lot of emotion, naturally. I couldn’t narrow it down and I didn’t want to. In that moment I decided this wasn’t going to be a statistic I ever believed. Don’t get me wrong, I spend my time, days, and life with amazing people. I have a wonderful family and incredible friends. In a lot of ways, I hope I am like each of them.

However, considering all of the people I have met in my 20 years of life, I like to think I have taken something away or learned something from every single one of them that has made me into the person I am today.

Every teacher, co-worker, teammate, friend, or roommate has taught me at least one thing. Some things were bigger than others. Some lessons lasted a day while others will be with me for the rest of my life.

I can remember every person I have sat next to on a plane when traveling alone. The man that criticized my major, the woman that told me that the world would be a better place if more people offered their tray table to the person next to them, the young dad who taught me we can constantly be improving in multiple areas of our lives and the two ladies that had a conversation all the way from Oakland, California, to Eugene, Oregon, and ended up getting a free ride out of it.

With some people, I learn values of friendship and interaction. With others, I learn from their mistakes, tokens of wisdom and stories. It might take some tough skin and an open mind, but I genuinely believe that hearing other people’s opinions, at least once a day, is good for you as an individual. It is good for the people that truly want to grow.

My sibling has taught me a lot of random facts about history and the world of lacrosse, but mostly he has taught me what it is like to have someone you care about no matter what the circumstances. My family has taught me the value of wrestling matches during the holidays, but also how to be patient and love the individuals in your life that share this unique bond with you. Strangers have taught me to keep the door open even if they don’t say “thank you,” to give up your seat on the train because someone needs it more than you and to make conversation with the person three rows in front of you at the Red Sox game. Each of the friends that have come and gone throughout my life have given me enough stories to tell for the rest of my 80 years. I have learned from their strength, styles, talents, passions and love. With every conversation, I am inspired with something I want to implement in my own life.

In short, I don’t want to be an average of the five people I interact with most. I want to be a combination of every individual that I have had the opportunity to interact with ever.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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