Looking Beyond Convention

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Why, hello there. You may or may not know me very well. And whether you do or not, does not actually matter. What does matter, is that you are here and I am here. Kind of. Figuratively, that is. Literally, neither of us are actually here, per say. You are currently on your internet-browsing device reading this sentence and I am doing lord knows what right now. But, semantics. My point is, I decided to create a blog, and… here’s a blog! As you will see, I am interested in two distinctly unrelated things (social sciences and sports) and, as a result, I will be posting about two completely different topics here. Variety is the spice of life, as they say. I expect this blog to follow a similar pattern that my Twitter account follows. That is, from about August through April, the majority of what is posted will be about college football and basketball. Then, when the offseason comes, the majority of the posts will be about the social sciences.

Anyway, you will find out in due time what form this blog takes, but what I want to do for my inaugural post is tell you a little bit about me. You see, I want this blog (for me) to be an exercise in learning more about the world and myself. Having to put pen to paper, (or fingers to keyboard, in this instance) allows me to think more in depth than I normally would. As it stands now, I gather a lot of my information from simply reading. And reading an interesting article is all fine and well, but forcing myself to write about a topic should help me better my understanding of the intricacies and finer points of the ideas that shape the world we live in. Ultimately, I hope it increases my retention and understanding of the key concepts that make our everyday world go around. I also hope it allows you to think about the world in ways that have never crossed your mind before.

Initially, when I wrote the rough draft of this post, I broke myself down into five categories. My goal was to give you an easy-to-digest bullet point presentation of who I am (according to me, anyway). The problem, is that I’m not capable of making things that simple. I soon realized that all of my categories overlapped and intertwined, and I didn’t really understand why I had chosen the categories I had. Then, it hit me. Sitting in class one Monday night, we were talking about identity. Well, we were talking about personality disorders, but talking about how people suffering from a personality disorder are usually unsure of their true identity or they have created a false, unhealthy identity. This got me thinking, what is my identity? What is my purpose in life? That’s when I realized what all five “categories of me” had in common: Learning.

You see, my main purpose in life is learning. Advancing. Progressing. Never standing still. Any activity that I find myself doing, I have to study it and learn it. I want to understand all aspects of it. I think this habit originally stems from being raised as an only child. I’m not actually an only child (I do have a half-brother), but I was raised an only child and that environment had an effect on me. Having had that alone time to myself for a good part of my life, I think has made me more introspective. Don’t get me wrong, I’m perfectly fine hanging out with friends in a social gathering, but I’m also more than happy sitting down and reading by myself.

Because of my introspective tendencies and my habit of constantly reflecting inward on myself, looking for new ways to grow, I have developed a fascination for the study of humans and society, in general. Add that to my passion for learning, and I have become quite enamored with the social sciences. I’m particularly fond of sociology and history, but I also enjoy political science, economics, philosophy, and psychology, too. I find they all overlap quite a bit, and I’ve recently, over the last year and a half, added counseling to this group. Nowadays, I find myself trying to apply various theories and concepts to my everyday life whenever I can. Mainly, though, I am constantly attempting to look beyond convention. Or, in sociological terms, develop a strong sociological imagination. If you’re unfamiliar with the sociological imagination, a short and probably not-the-most-accurate way of explaining the idea is describing it as “learning to ask why?” Questioning everything. Or my new favorite way to put it, making the familiar strange.That definition works for me because that is how I have learned to see the world in a different light. And, oddly enough, I think that is how I came to start looking at sports through a statistical lens.

This does come with a caveat, however. Questioning everything can often times uncover some uncomfortable truths (I type truths in italics here because, as a self-proclaimed existentialist, I find truth to be dependent upon the individual). Your findings may clash with conventional view points. You may uncover something painful about yourself or somebody you care about. It may be scary and sometimes difficult to swallow. However, despite all the difficulties it can present, there is a beauty in seeing the world beyond how traditional society defines it. There is always a reason that something has happened the way it has, and getting down to the root cause is an important skill to have. Accepting something because “that’s the way it has always been done” or because “that’s what everybody says” should not be sufficient enough reason. I fully believe that individual happiness lies in exploring ourselves and the world we live in. And any day that I haven’t learned something about myself or the world I live in, I feel is a day wasted in my short time on this planet.

So, essentially, that’s me in a nutshell. A quiet, introspective guy who happens to be obsessed with the social sciences and analyzing sports from a statistical standpoint. I hope I haven’t scared you off after my first post. Future posts will be on a variety of topics and should be less about me, specifically. I didn’t feel the most comfortable writing this post about myself, but I felt it was necessary to give readers an idea of where I was coming from and hopefully help them identify my purpose in writing this blog. I have no idea how much or little I will be able to post; it all depends on my schedule. However, when I do, I hope it helps you learn to see the world in a new way, just as it does for me.

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