"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars." - Jack Kerouac
I have interesting conversations with a lot of different people wherever I go. My friends and family are included in this, yes, but so are the random discussions I have with people I've never met before. People like the elderly lady who asks for a second opinion on which brand of frosting to purchase at the grocery store. The funny cashier who never fails to make me laugh when I pick up my morning Starbucks. The bookseller at Barnes & Noble who suggests new novels to read.
These conversations are ones that stick with me over the years. Call it fate, divine intervention, whatever you like, but I firmly believe that these interactions help us in our everyday lives.
I especially enjoy the conversations I have with people who have a keen sense of individualism. It is easy to spot these people: they light up with enthusiasm when they speak, their eyes sparkle, they make animated hand gestures, and they smile and laugh a lot. These people are comfortable in their own skin and they know it, but are still humble nonetheless. They have larger-than-life personalities and have no problem making their opinions known amongst the right people.
Jack Kerouac, in his novel On the Road, once stated: "The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the sky." I love the imagery in this passage. It suggests that some people positively burn like fireworks with dynamic force, igniting all those around them with a passion to live, to talk, to dream, to be different.
If only more people burned like fabulous yellow roman candles.
Instead, there seems to be a paradigm shift in our society: be like everyone else. Do not get excited about anything, or people will think you are too different, too excitable, too loquacious.
Seek out the mad ones. Seek out those who are a positive yet vibrant, technicolor force in life. They are not hard to find. If you are unsure how to do this, here's my advice: people love to talk about themselves. Strike up a conversation with someone one day and use a topic that will break the ice. Behavioral scientists Nicholas Epley and Juliana Schroeder found that individuals who talk with new people are actually happier than those who keep to themselves.
Maybe by speaking with new people, you too can become someone who is "mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved." I know I can be like this with the right people and more often than not, I am like this everyday. Burn like a fabulous yellow roman candle.
After all, the only people for me are the mad ones.