Variety and uniformity

We love variety. We love uniformity. This contrast in our wants and needs is intriguing.

The familiar can be comforting — knowing that something will always be there. And yet, we love change. Few people would choose to have the same meal three times a day. We love listening to different tunes. A change in seasons is often welcome.

And yet everyone has different needs for variety and uniformity. Some people are content with no change, ever. On the other side, our ADD culture pushes us toward constant stimulation, which requires never-ending change. I’m probably closer to the wanting-variety end of that spectrum.

My need for constancy is reflected by the fact that I’ve been married 26 years. Yet there is endless variety in my wife. (Women are so different than men that I will never figure her out!)

Finally, variety is a luxury. In America today, we have far greater choice than kings and queens did 400 years ago. We can get fresh fruit 365 days a year. When I lived in Africa, my friends in rural areas did not have that luxury. If mangoes weren’t ready to pick, you didn’t eat mangoes. If they were ripe, you ate a lot, for several weeks straight.

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