“People like what they like. They’re gonna do what they’re gonna do.”

John Hodgman

People are the best. People are the worst. People are wise. People are foolish. People believe. People doubt… But it’s people who prove there’s more than one way to be human.

Each of us steps to the beat of our own drum—sometimes in sync, often out of step—but always contributing to the collective rhythm. There’s a beauty in this discord, a harmony in the cacophony of our individual quirks and peculiarities.

It’s in these idiosyncrasies that we find the true spice of life, the flavors that make the human experience so endlessly fascinating and frustratingly complex. Our individual quirks and peculiarities are the true flavors of life, making the human experience a rich and varied feast.

Take, for instance, my peculiar love affair with burnt popcorn. It’s not the sort of passion one typically boasts about, akin to admitting a fondness for rainy days or the music of elevator rides. Yet, here I am, at the stovetop, deliberately allowing the pot to sit beyond the socially acceptable popping protocol period.

Each kernel that emerges more carbon than corn is a small, crunchy rebellion against the culinary norms that bind us. There’s a certain satisfaction in this, like laughing at your own jokes, a blissful nod to self-amusement. The smoky aroma that fills the room is less a sign of snack-time gone awry and more a perfume of peculiar preference, a culinary badge of honor worn with a mix of pride and a dash of sheepishness.

This penchant for the charred and crunchy might raise eyebrows, perhaps even draw concern from the uninitiated, yet it’s these little quirks that stitch together the fabric of our individuality. In a world striving for popcorn perfection—each kernel popped to golden, fluffy precision—my bowl of burnt offerings is a small stand for personal taste, a reminder that sometimes, the best flavors are found in the most unexpected places.

Now, let’s journey into the world of my dear friend Jared. Jared’s not just collecting bags; he’s curating a museum of memories, each tote and fannypack a gallery piece showcasing a fragment of his journey.

Jared treats these bags not as mere vessels for his belongings but as canvases for his life’s adventures. It’s like finding someone who keeps concert tickets in a drawer, not just as souvenirs but as portals to moments that danced away with the night. Each bag, with its array of patches and wear marks, tells a story more vivid than any photo could capture.

This fascination with bags, a collection that might puzzle the minimalist, is Jared’s way of mapping his life’s travels. In a world where we’re often urged to lighten our load, Jared’s assortment of bags stands as a testament to the weight of experiences he cherishes, a tangible form of storytelling where every zipper and seam is imbued with a tale.

To the outsider, it’s a peculiar hobby, an eccentricity that might elicit a chuckle or a shake of the head. But in the symphony of Jared’s world, each bag is a note, contributing to a melody that sings of adventure, curiosity, and the sheer joy of collecting not just objects, but memories.

And finally, in the galaxy of quirks, how can we forget my brother-in-law Jim—the Jedi of Star Wars fandom? To say Jim is a fan is to say the Sahara is a bit sandy; it’s an understatement of galactic proportions. In his realm, “Star Wars” isn’t merely a series of films; it’s a cornerstone of culture, a framework for fellowship.

Jim’s dedication manifests in a way most would reserve for high holidays or significant life milestones. For him, every day is an opportunity to don another meticulously crafted costume, each stitch a testament to his devotion. It’s akin to someone who wears holiday sweaters year-round, not just for the warmth, but for the joy and conversation they spark.

Jim’s “Star Wars” passion, while it may perplex the pedestrian passerby, is the glue to a community of like-minded souls. In embracing his love for “Star Wars,” Jim not only celebrates a personal passion but fosters a sense of belonging, creating a space where others can revel in their shared enthusiasm for a galaxy far, far away. It’s a reminder that sometimes, the most profound connections are forged not in the mundane, but in the mutual celebration of the extraordinary.

So, here’s to the burnt popcorn lovers, the bag enthusiasts, the Star Wars devotees—may we all continue to revel in the delightful chaos of being human. For in the end, it’s not about fitting into neatly labeled boxes or striving for some unattainable ideal of normalcy.

It’s about finding joy in the idiosyncrasies that make us who we are.

It’s about finding connection with others who dance to the beat of their own, perhaps slightly offbeat, drums.

And it’s about flourishing in our individuality and being unapologetically, unequivocally ourselves.

It is a far, far better thing that we do to celebrate each other than we have ever done. It is a far, far better world that we know in cherishing our unique flavors than we have ever known.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Product + Content Marketing at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.