Growing up in Huntington Beach, you were either a traditional sports athlete, a skateboarder, or a surfer. I got my first skateboard when I was five and skated off and on over the years, did a little BMX racing as a kid, and then in my freshman or sophomore year I started getting a little bit more into skateboarding.
Growing up in India, I knew all I needed to change the world was one good opportunity, and I prepared myself for it. When that opportunity came -- in the form of the chance to earn an engineering degree -- I was ready.
Growing up in Iowa I could have had it a lot worse. My family was more worried about my education and my health than the fact that I wore my sister's dresses.
Growing up in Ireland, there never seemed to be the notion that children should be seen and not heard. We all looked forward to mealtimes when we'd sit around the table and talk about our days. Storytelling and long, rambling conversations were considered good things.
Growing up in Ireland, when my family received important news, good or bad, we would boil water and make tea. It was the first thing I did when my father died in 1984. This ritual allowed me a moment to take in the enormity of what had happened.
Growing up in Israel, how can I not be an optimist? When you remember what Israel was 50 years ago and you see Israel now, one of the most successful countries in the world, stable, democratic, with an enormously stable economy despite everything that has happened in the global economy in the last few years, how can I not be an optimist?
Growing up in Jamaica, the Pentecostal church wasn't that fiery thing you might think. It was very British, very proper. Hymns. No dancing. Very quiet. Very fundamental.
Growing up in Jersey City was interesting. I got to learn a lot about different cultures: I had Hindu friends, Middle Eastern friends, black friends, Spanish friends.
Growing up in Kansas City, I was always neat, the teacher's pet, know-it-all type.
Growing up in Kentucky, I used to hang out with four running buddies as a kid -- 6, 10, and 11 years old. Two of them would later come out, and so 50 percent of my friends as a kid were gay.
Growing up in Kenya, slum life was not far away. I had family that lived in slums, so I visited them often, and so I've seen and interacted with abject poverty. But I also know that because of that, poverty is not the definition of the people that live there.
Growing up in Livingston, New Jersey, was terrific.
Growing up in London was the best.
Growing up in London, with a hippie mom, I don't know that I'm most people's definition of what a black person is. I'm mixed, yes, but in the world I'm defined as black before I'm defined white. I've never been called white.
Growing up in Louisiana, my grandmother gave me an accordion because of our Cajun heritage. What ended up happening was I started learning about more instruments, so I just kind of went that route. Music's really all I've ever done.
Growing up in Manhattan has given me a thick skin.
Growing up in Memphis, I have always admired St. Jude's for the magnificent work they do.
Growing up in Mexico, I have many fond memories of not only celebrating posadas with my family, but also of the time spent together menu planning and prepping for decoration and entertaining activities. A lot of work goes into celebrating these traditions, but that doesn't mean they have to cost a lot too.
Growing up in Miami, I had all these great, strong influences. You know, being Cuban and the Latin influence, but also the strong hip-hop influence.