Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

I just threw a going away party for myself.

I’ve got no idea if that’s a normal thing.

It seemed like a good idea, and I’m damn glad I did. It was fun, and very meaningful to me.

We celebrated, with people I love and care for, the legacy of relationships we built together in the city of Atlanta over the past 3 years. As this chapter draws to a close, celebration is the correct means to honor the value of what we shared.

I’ve had the good fortune of coming to know and love some incredible people. Intelligent, self-aware, honest men and women of many walks of life, temperaments, backgrounds – the people who showed up helped make my life what it is today.

Food and drink are merely calls to comradery. The burgers and lacroix were nice, but ultimately the people made the party great. When you’re in great company, sometimes you leave an interaction coming away with something unexpected.

That’s what I’m writing about today.

My old understanding: “Diversity” is a dirty code word.

My whole adult life, I’ve had a bad taste in my mouth when left-leaning people use the word “diversity”. I’ve seen it used too many times as an anti-white male slur. When corporations set “diversity guidelines” for their hiring practices, it universally means “more women, and more people of color”. Said differently, “less whites, and less men”.

Diversity isn’t supposed to be a negative thing. It’s supposed to be beneficial. It’s supposed to be something that helps people and organizations grow to realize greater human potential.

The great mistake of Leftists, is that they try to enforce diversity byexcluding certain groups.

That’s completely self-defeating and hypocritical. It’s sad and ironic.

In my personal life, I don’t care about the color of people’s skin or their gender.

I care about the quality of their character. And I choose my friends carefully based on my own values.

Many of my best friends in life have been black. The smartest kid I knew in high school was Indian. The most compassionate and graceful soul I’ve met was a woman. I loved each of these relationships for the richness and color we brought to each other’s lives. Values are colorblind, and living life in accordance to rational values opens you up to experiencing the richness and fulfillment from all good people.

My new understanding: Diversity can be beautiful.

As I rounded the corner in the stairwell for the 5th time (my forgetful ass is had to make 5 trips to get everything necessary to grill burgers) – I thought of how miraculous it was that everyone was here together. Walking into the wide open rooftop terrace, seeing the backdrop of Atlanta’s picturesque city skyline, seeing smiles and heads nodding and shimmering waves of heat crisping vegan patties and bratwurst, I realized was just how diverse my group of friends was, and it made me happy.

And for the first time, I had a positive feeling associated with that word which previously only made me cringe: “diverse”.

There were people there I knew through Praxis, AA, my co-working space, someone I’d never met before. and someone I hadn’t seen in over a year. They each have different life experiences, different beliefs, different attitudes, different strengths, and different struggles.

It occurred to me, that this was a beautiful scene.

They were good people of diverse backgrounds coming together to serve a common purpose – celebration.

I could see new connections being formed between people who would otherwise never meet. I have no idea what good can come from that. We spoke for hours about everything from the movie Joker to dream analysis to Jordan Peterson to reincarnation.. 1/2 of that stuff I would never talk about on my own.

That’s the power of diversity: exposure to new ways of thinking, new experiences, and new ideas.

We were a group of programmers, developers, parents, store managers, salespeople, personal assistants, and directors. We were white and black, male and female. And we got along fantastically, with hours of great conversation, each of us leaving better off than when we came.

Diversity can be beautiful, if and when it creates Good.

That’s what I witnessed today.

And I’m very grateful for it.