I have a friend whose favorite saying is “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” He’s a wonderfully eccentric and open man, the one who walked into the Little Sprout in his bathrobe on his way to water aerobics and struck up a conversation with me. (See post on Talking to Strangers, link below.) Some people have the gift of fearlessly being their true selves in public without any worry about what others will think.
I love it when people don’t try to be cool. Enthusiasm, eccentricity and honesty are all so much more appealing. I was walking with another professor today, about to cross a street through the middle of the campus, when I saw a student who’d been in my freshman seminar last semester running toward me from a block away with open arms and a glowing smile. Of course, I stopped. He hugged me and said he missed me. Wow. You don’t get that often when you teach a required first-year course. Faculty members don’t get a lot of hugs for teaching, period. It made my day. We talked about what he’s currently studying, hugged again, and I caught up with my colleague, who had been dealing with a disgruntled student who’s fighting a failing grade. We often hear more from the dissatisfied few than from the happy ones, so my day was set alight by this happily “uncool” young man. Now I feel like going around showing other people how much I appreciate them.
Anyone who takes the time to read anything I write—books, reviews, blog posts—thanks. Fellow bloggers that I follow—thanks. I appreciate you. Everyone who surprised someone with a hug today—thanks. Keep on hugging, reading and writing.