Monday, April 18, 2011

O is for Open-mindedness

When I was in high school, and everyone was worried about whether they'd be accepted by their preferred college or university, my English teacher told us, "You carry your campus with you."

What she meant was that it didn't really matter where we ended up; what mattered was our attitude. If you decide you will be happy in a new place, you probably will be. If you decide you're going to be miserable, you probably will. Very wise words, indeed.


When my husband was first offered a job in Germany, I was really resistant. I had never been there, and all I knew of the country was what I had learned in my history classes. That meant I learned about World Wars I and II (lesson? U.S. good, Germany bad), and about how the U.S. had rescued West Berlin during the Russian blockade during the years of the cold war (lesson? U.S. good, Russians and East Germany bad).  Not exactly the best way to start a new life in a foreign country.

But despite my worries, we did it (I reminded myself of my English teacher's wise words over and over again). And you know what? I have been happier in Berlin than I had been living anywhere else.

And now we're gearing up to move to somewhere in the Midwest. I won't tell you where. (If you know the U.S., you'll say, "Oh. *long pause* Really?" and if you don't, you'll say, "Where? I'll have to look that up.")

When Beloved Husband first interviewed for this job, I had the same reaction. I was resistant. But then I stopped to think: the city we will be moving to meets just about every criteria I had said I wanted in a permanent home (the only thing missing is mountains). And, given my experience moving to Germany, my preconceived notions have been WAY off-base before.

So I think we'll be happy there. Because we decide to be happy, wherever we are.

Are you open-minded about new places and experiences? How do you carry your campus with you?


  1. Sometimes it's hard to be totally open-minded, isn't it? I try to go into things with no preconceptions, but I think that preconception is just a human condition.
    And I totally agree with your teacher; everything is what you make it.

  2. I think of most places as pretty much the same, some good, some bad. I'm intrigued by this mystery city you're moving to. From the clues you've left I'd guess Salt Lake City. Close?

    Moody Writing

  3. I so agree with you. I was born and raised in Canada, and at first I balked at the thought of moving to the US for a job opportunity for my husband. But we took a chance, and we leapt. And I'm so glad we did. I became a writer here. You just never know where opportunities will take you, so long as you stay open. Great post!

  4. Angeline: Preconceptions are a human condition, but I'm trying my best to avoid them. :)

    mood: Too far west. And too close to the mountains. :)

    Jennifer: Glad to hear your success story!

  5. I try to be open minded. We move to Hong Kong for two years and I ended up loving it. So yea, I do try to be opened to new experiences.

  6. Open-mindedness is always the way forward - though like l;you said, resistance always fights against it.

    But being OM lets in new opportunites and experiences that you may never have the opportunity to do in a different situation. I love travelling, meeting new people and learning new things.

    I've often found that when you are open to new ideas and new ways of doing things, you can have a much fuller and richer life. Great post!

  7. Weird, I was going to write a post on openmindedness, but didn't. Anyway, you've done a great job. I try to be very open minded. In fact I look forward to new experiences and cultures,but sometimes change can make you nervous. And when I went to college, I did learn that you are who you are and your choice of college doesn't make or break you.

  8. I've moved a LOT in my life and it was usually kicking and screaming. I realized later that it was exactly where I needed to be at that time. Now life is an Narnia. You never know when you will walk through the wardrobe and experience a whole new world.

  9. Great choice for 'O', and one of the most important concepts for me.

    It's something I see in my job every day: open-minded students will learn, no matter what. Curiosity about life and a willingness to be surprised, adapt and learn are so important.

  10. No midwest is more like Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska, etc. I am from that area so I will be excited to hear where you are going. I am very open-minded. I truly believe that every time you close a door a window opens. It may be a little window but its always enough for me to find happiness.A big move! It is good to be open-minded. The move itself is tough but once you get past that...well its all downhill even if there are no mountains.

  11. Tab: Hong Kong sounds exotic and exciting!

    DU: I love traveling, too, and I'm looking forward to living in a new place. But I have experienced the reaction(s) I described.

    NiaRaie: Thank you!

    Luana: I love the analogy!

    K.C.: Exactly. I think open-mindedness is important in life, not just in travel/moving situations.

    Jeanne: It's the third one. And I couldn't agree more about the closing/opening doors thing. :)

  12. Thanks for this positive post.I try to stay open-minded. I love trying new things. That's what life is all about :)