|Learning about lives|
|Written by Eric Mills, Columnist|
|Monday, 15 September 2008 18:00|
Clank. Grunt. Crash. Scream.
Look to the left, a 230 pound ball of muscle.
Look to the right, a 75-year-old, 110-pound-woman.
Look straight in front of you, a bunch of average-sized people working to their little hearts' desire.
The gym is such an odd place to walk in. It's so distinct because it combines such a wide group of people, while giving them all a common ground.
Fitness and good health.
People entering the gym might not all have the same goals. Some want to gain weight, some want to lose it. Some might want to be more defined, some might want to get bigger. Others may just want to reach a goal of being more comfortable living their daily life.
Still they all exist on a single common ground. That's what makes it such an odd combination of society.
It takes people from all over the spectrum of society. People who may have absolutely nothing in common can come together and experience different thoughts and ideas while still knowing they have something in common.
It's a lot like college is supposed to be: people from all different walks of life coming together to see each others' opinions and viewpoints.
Except for two main differences. Age and location.
Age, for the majority of students on a university campus, is fairly similar. Sure, there are non-traditional students and they make up a significant portion of a university population.
However, by and large, the majority of people on a college campus is between 18 and 25.
Age is common there, with location being the variable allowing you to get to know people from different places around the state and country.
The gym, on the other hand, holds people together based on location, with age the main variable in terms of getting to know different people.
Although many people tend to spend the majority of time with the group they came with at the gym, it isn't uncommon to see people talking with other people they just run into and meet.
It gives you a different outlook about things you have been thinking about in your life in either case.
These two venues bring me back to something I think has been extremely important in my life: keeping an open mind and getting to know a wide variety of people.
Whether a person looks like someone you would get along with or sounds like someone you would hate, that doesn't necessarily mean they really would be.
The only way to really get to know people is by doing just that, getting to know them.
Sometimes you will find that your prejudices will be reinforced, and sometimes you may find that they are completely off base and wrong.
In other situations you may realize some people from a certain place or age group may reinforce an idea while others from that same group completely defy it. Either way you will never know until you meet them.
It's something that will help in your every day life and conversation too.
Understanding a wide spectrum of thoughts from people in different situations in life is a great way to form views on the world in general.
People talk about being an educated voter, but I think that comes second to leading an educated life.
An educated voter is someone who understands the issues and a candidate's position on that issue, then forms their decision based on that.
However, leading an educated life involves understanding the points of view of many different people from many different places.
In theory, all of these ideas should help you better understand what is best for society and the world in general. That doesn't necessarily mean it will affect the way you vote or the positions you take on issues. But getting to know a variety of people, at the gym, college or somewhere else, can only help direct your ideas in the right direction.