Hungry on our way home from a family ski weekend, we decided to stop for pizza. As chief passenger seat navigation assistant, it was my job to Google pizza joints in the next town and I was excited to see one of my favorite pizzerias pop up on the digital map. Pies topped with bruschetta tomatoes, fresh basil, marinated chicken, roasted asparagus, wild mushrooms and caramelized onions make my mouth water.
But those in the vehicle who don’t desire “fancy” pizza promptly squashed my food fantasy. Chants for a plain old pepperoni pizza guided our vehicle pied piper like toward a restaurant featuring thin crust pizzas clearly flavored with one main ingredient, salt. Sure, salt is tasty. And greasy cheese is moisturizer to a dry winter soul. But c’mon people. Let’s try something new once in a while.
Yet, I’m not as quick to jump aboard the variety wagon when it comes to some of the comforts I cling to. Take books for example; I strain to stray outside my habitual reading proclivities which can make book clubs both wonderful and uncomfortable because they force me to read books I wouldn’t normally choose. I’m pretty sure Mark Twain once said, “A classic is something everyone wants to have read but nobody wants to read.” But I’m not certain he said it because my book about Mark Twain is still on my shelf unread.
Jobs, movies, fashion, vacation destinations and family traditions can all be areas where people stick to what they know and eschew change or any attempt at variety. There is a certain comfort in predictability, knowing what we like and sticking with it.
But when it comes to pizza and people–especially people–might I suggest changing things up once in a while? We may be too comfortable keeping company with only those who think like us, like what we like and do things pretty much like we do. Fine and dandy. But much is to be gained when we connect with a variety of folks. We learn new things, understand different ways of seeing the world and gain insight into why some hold values unlike our own.
It doesn’t have to be a lot or even all the time. I understand the need to retreat into creature comforts and the company of those who best understand us. But occasionally branching out into the social circles of those who are younger or older, richer or poorer or of another race or religion can enrich our lives and provide opportunities for us to bless the lives of others.
I think of my late grandfather. Among the many things I admire about him was his ability to be at ease in most any situation. He was not intimidated by great wealth nor did he ever act superior around those struggling to get by. Differences in language, cultural background or sexual orientation didn’t frighten him. He traveled, took an interest in people and tried new hobbies throughout his life.
May the memory of my grandfather and possibly this blog post encourage you to branch out of your comfort zones. Adopt an attitude of fearlessness that comes from being comfortable in who you are–a person with much to offer–a flavorful ingredient in this most delicious pizza pie of life.