All my life, I have lived in the United States as an ethnically ambiguous, Muslim woman. I was born in the States, surrounded by Western culture and influences; however, I was raised by Asian/Middle Eastern influenced parents. As I have started to meet new people in my life, I have become friends with people of different backgrounds and cultures, but we all have something in common: our upbringing. Although my parents have not lived in the United States all their lives, modern western culture has influenced all families in a similar manner. In fact, I strongly believe that we all live the same lives.
1. “When I was your age…” Although not all of our parents were surrounded by the same living circumstances or environment, they all compare their daily lives as a young adult to ours. An overwhelming majority of parents constantly compare our work ethic, hobbies, and interests to their own when they were our age. It is something I have experienced from random adults, my own parents, older relatives, and friends’ parents of all ages.
2. The exact same interests. Different ethnicities all have different specific cultures, but for people who live in the United States, it is clear that, as kids, we have all had the same interests and activities as introduced to us by our parents. Our generation was filled with trips to Toys-R-Us, Disney movies, and trends. I've come to notice that several odd household items or topics introduced by my parents, such as Peter Pan and Zoo Pals plates, have also been present in the households of others. Although these were trends as we were growing up, it is shocking when a friend connects with me over my favorite Zoo Pals plates as a kid.
3. Discipline. When I was a child, my parents had several methods of discipline that I had never thought other kids had to experience. In movies, American parents would always send their children “to the corner,” but for me, that is definitely not the case. Regardless, my parents disciplining me always ended in eight-year-old me crying and playing with a spring door stop. I have had several people recall the same experience- playing with their spring doorstop, and it always makes me wonder.
Overall, originating from different backgrounds and living in the United States is a separate experience for everyone, but there are many commonalities that can be found in regards to the lives we lived growing up, despite these differences of background. Before telling stories to other people, I would not have known if other children messed with a spring door stop as they cried, or ate out of Zoo Pals snack plates. If we have all been living the same lives this whole time, we may find that we are able to more easily connect and share our life experiences with one another than we thought possible.