It dawned on me this morning that I haven’t actually explored what “cultured” means.
So, I’m going to try and explain what it means to me – now that I’ve tried to encompass my own definition of the word.
To me, cultured is educating yourself on the world and its components; past and present. So yes, this means understanding politics, or at least trying to engage with it (still working progress). It’s watching the news and keeping up with current affairs. It’s learning about history – not just the good bits that you were taught at GCSE. It’s understanding that there’s a bigger world; right on your doorstep waiting to be explored. It’s appreciating the beauty of the daffodils in my garden and the way that my Mum smiles when I come home for the weekend.
It’s reading – not just the classics – all types of books. It doesn’t matter what book you pick up; it’s bound to teach you something. Take Bridget Jones’ Diary for example; vital for teaching us all to avoid the Daniel Cleavers of this world (as hard as that concept is). It’s being able to talk about all of these things with clarity and confidence.
Cultured is NOT making someone feel small because they haven’t read Romeo and Juliet. Nor is it self-deprecating because you didn’t manage to go to the Louvre when you visited France because you’d rather spend the day in Disneyland.
It’s accepting that people are different and don’t want the same things from life that you do. It’s understanding that not everyone knows how to pronounce ‘quinoa’ or do crosswords – and probably don’t want to either. Our society wouldn’t be as diverse and interesting if everybody wanted to do the same thing.
It’s knowing that I can get excited to watch Keeping up with the Kardashians every Sunday and not beat myself up about it because ‘it’s not a cultured thing to do’. It’s knowing that some days I’ll want to write creatively and others I’ll want to stay in bed and watch Parks and Recreation all day. It’s balance.
It’s a cycle of sharing and acquiring knowledge frequently and often. It’s respecting others, being polite and most importantly, being willing to try new things. It’s certainly not elitist and cannot be earned by simply learning how to use chopsticks or watching Question Time.
It’s opening your eyes.
Tilly Turnip xo