With all of the recent snow finally melting away, I find myself finally coalescing some thoughts about snowflakes. Every snowflake is rumored to be unique, no two crystallizing in quite the same pattern. This fact gets bandied about to talk about people, how we are all unique and it is certainly true. I suspect that there are common themes in snowflakes, groups they can be ordered into, just like with people. For the moment, let’s just assume everyone is totally and completely unique. If everyone is unique, then being unique is nothing special. It’s just a fact.
I’ve met a lot of people who want to tout their uniqueness, proclaim the uniqueness of others. They hold it up as a beacon of hope, wonder, and greatness. I do my best to play along. What they say is true, after all. But I personally want no part of this special snowflake syndrome. I don’t care if I’m special. I don’t care if I’m unique. A single unique snowflake doesn’t really accomplish much in this world. Think of the sheer number of snowflakes it took to bury Boston this year? By the time they all land, in order to do something, it takes many many snowflakes coming together to do something greater than any single individual.
What’s more, it’s when the snow melts, let’s go of its for and structure and turns to water, that it can seep into the cracks, refreeze, tear apart roads and mountains. It isn’t in uniqueness that the world is transformed, but in deep engagement with the help of many others. Sure, there will always be a first few flakes to fall, a first few flakes to stick. There will always be people to start the process, to show the way. We hold these people up, these Kings, Ghandis, Mandellas. But it is the force of the countless unnamed masses behind them that made their accomplishments possible.
I don’t want to be a special snowflake. I want to be a part of the blizzard. I don’t care if I am unique. I care that I make a difference.