By SAMANTHA GRISWOLD
managing editor, news
It’s not a secret that experiences you have during your childhood play a significant role in shaping who you become. They say that where you live also plays a role in your personality, though I hadn’t ever thought of that before.
I read an article from CNN that talked about how character traits vary from state to state and that to an extent, some stereotypes we hold about people from certain places are true.
That led me to wonder how my upbringing and the places I’ve lived have had an impact on who I am today.
I am no stranger to moving; I’ve lived in many different regions across the country – the West Coast, the South, Alaska and now the Northeast.
My experiences affirmed what they said in the article – some stereotypes are true.
They say that people from the West Coast are more carefree and less neurotic than those from the East Coast. They also say that people from the South are friendlier – there’s a reason “southern hospitality” is a thing.
But where does all of this leave me? I didn’t grow up in one city or even one state. I moved multiple times and was never anywhere for longer than three years until I was 14.
I have two theories for this, though a mixture of the two is probably more along the lines of the truth. One theory is that I have developed my own personality traits modeling my parents’ personality traits.
Even taking the dumb “We can guess where you’re from” quizzes online, I usually get that I’m from California or somewhere on the West Coast – which makes sense, considering my mother is from California and I take after her more than I’d like to admit.
My father is from Erie, though he doesn’t really exhibit many typical Northeastern traits.
My second theory is that my upbringing has just made me a more accepting and well-rounded person. I feel like I have been around so many people and experienced so many different ways of life that I’ve gotten a more complete view of the world, at least in this country.
Not to say that growing up in one town for your entire life is a bad thing – I often wish I had. I craved that kind of stability.
But I do think that when you are in one place for your entire life, you tend to be more ignorant of the complexity of the human experience and the vast differences that make up the world.
It only turns bad when you refuse to learn about things beyond your small, 4,000-person town.
If more people understood that the world is made up of people from all walks of life, all races and ethnicities, all sexualities, all religions – and that these differences are OK, we would be a more peaceful and happy world.