I don't fit in. And for the first time in my life, I've realized that it's okay.
At my old job, my age was what separated me from the rest of the pack. The majority of my coworkers were twice my age, and our lunch time conversations usually revolved around them telling me stories of the past, or swapping stories about raising kids and grandkids. Don't get me wrong, I loved it, and those ladies are very special to me. but with the exception of a couple of people, I was the baby of the group.
When I got my new job, I was so excited to see that there were dozens of people my age. And yet, I sometimes still find myself thinking "I really don't fit in". Socially, that is.
I'm not a girly girl, so I can talk fashion or shopping nor do I know what the latest trends are. I buy my makeup from CVS and my wardrobe is from clearance racks and resale shops.
I like sports, but I only loosely follow along. I cheer for the Lions on Sunday's and I love going to Tigers games and shouting at them on my TV, but I would fail miserably in a Fantasy Football League or March Madness.
I don't watch The Walking Dead or Mad Men or Breaking Bad or any other show that people always seem to be talking about. Family Feud? Sign me up.
I am not crafty- at all. I have no desire to look up DIY projects on Pinterest. I so appreciate the people that can whip out cute little crafts, but I can't.
And, probably the biggest thing that sets me apart from most: I'm not married, I'm not engaged, I don't have kids. I can't give wedding advice to the newly engaged girls in our office (there's usually at least 3 at a time) or talk mommy talk.
Let's be clear- I don't think there is anything wrong with "fitting in" to any of the above categories. I just don't fit.
With all of that being said, I'm usually pretty quiet in lunch time or hallway chats. And it's not because I don't care. I do care- I LOVE listening to other people share about themselves. I love hearing what gets you excited, that you stayed up all night watching the Red Wings game because you are obsessed with hockey. I love hearing about your family's secret fudge recipe. I love the stories you share about your kids. I just can't always relate or contribute- but I love to listen to it all. I get so much joy out of hearing other people get excited about something they are passionate about. I try really hard to pick pieces of what people tell me and use it for later.
I get labeled as "shy" quite often. In many cases, yes, that is true. But it's usually because instead of jumping in and talking, I am listening for clues about you that I can later use to relate to you in conversation. I save things in little files in my head.
Sometimes, I feel left out of things because I don't always fit a certain mold. But at 27 years old, I've finally realized that being- and feeling- "different" than others is okay. Because it's who I am. And if I have such a love for other people being them true selves and sharing things with me, I should love that about myself, too. I may not always have something to contribute to conversations, but that doesn't make me inadequate. My interests and hobbies may not line up with others, but they are mine, and they help make me who I am. I am no less interesting than any other person.
And so my friends, I encourage you to be yourself. Be you- because you are awesome.. If you're feeling like you don't fit in, maybe take some time to reflect on why- what is it that makes you unqie? You're not weird, you're not antisocial, you're not alone. You're just you, and you shouldn't hide who you are. And in the days where you feel like there's no one to talk to, find a person like me- the listeners. We'd love to listen.