I like grapes.
What kind of a first sentence for a blog post is that? No search engine optimization techniques have been applied, and it doesn’t offer any lessons or advice to you that you can use to make your life better.
But I like grapes, and that’s an important statement about my life. A couple of years ago, I didn’t like grapes.
Continued exposure creates awareness, acceptance and eventually celebration.
Important lessons about life emerge from the simple fact that once I didn’t like grapes, and now I do.
Most weeks, we stop by Central Market in Fort Worth, a high-end grocery store that balances hard-to-find and boutique grocery items with a nearly complete line of regular groceries. Many weeks during the warmer months, we take advantage of their free weekend concerts. In fact, we were once regulars at these events, so we were there a lot.
Sample of amazing food are always available, and grapes are usually among them. I started slowly at first, trying grapes only occasionally. I’ve also tried oranges, freshly made guacamole and salad with cranberries served alongside some salmon. I still don’t like oranges, and I’m starting to like guacamole. Cranberries don’t belong in salad, as it turns out, but salmon belongs on my plate.
At first, the grapes all seemed sour and unappealing to me. Squishy on the inside and chewy on the outside? Is that how they seem to everyone else? Why would anyone eat one of these?
But I kept trying them. I began to notice that the red ones were sweeter than the white ones. And the purple ones have more flavor. And some grapes are simply better than others.
Through repeated exposure to a variety of grape experiences, I began to realize that I actually like some of them. I don’t like bad grapes, but I like good ones. My tolerance for the mediocre ones has even increased.
A few months ago, I bought some grapes. That was a first for me.
What are the lessons from my long-term exposure to grapes? I see lots of them, and among them are these:
- On a simple and direct level, people’s tastes change.
- On a wider level, people’s preferences and opinions change.
- Exposure reduces negative opinions, and that can lead to acceptance and perhaps even celebration.
- Opposition can be based on sour grapes — a bad initial experience. But it can be overcome.
Because I take weekly walks through a high-end grocery store, I’ve learned that I like grapes, guacamole, salmon and a variety of strange salad dressings, ice cream flavors, breads and deli meats.
Learning about my taste for exotic or at least unfamiliar foods is a really big thing in my life.
It means that life’s unchanging certainties aren’t really set in stone at all. Exposure, though, is one of the keys to acceptance.