People weren’t designed to be isolated. We need other people, now more than ever. Without others, it’s easy to withdraw into ourselves and close ourselves off from the world. We need others for support and assurance but also to keep us ‘in check’. If we don’t have a person (or people) to do that, it’s easy for our minds and thoughts to get away from us and lead us down questionable paths. I am grateful I have my husband nearby to rein me in when necessary. He is often able to look at the same scenario and come away with an entirely different ‘take’ on things, which is healthy for me. I often look at things from an emotional perspective when they are directed at me, while he can step back and observe the exact same things objectively (because he is not personally involved). It is quite amazing, once he shares his views with me, how it helps me to reevaluate and often change my initial response.
But is one person in our life enough? I hardly think so! We need all kinds of people to stimulate, challenge, sustain, love, guide, empower, teach and support us. We also need people to hold us accountable. That’s where ‘finding your tribe’ comes into play. We all need our own ‘tribe’. What do I mean by that? That’s a term commonly used to describe a social group. When I was the ‘new kid in town’, it was just me and my hubby. I really didn’t have anybody else. As much as I love the guy, sometimes it’s important to socialize with other people. I wasn’t sure how to find these people at first. It didn’t help that nearly the only time I left the house was to run to Home Depot or Lowes to fetch some more paint or caulking or nails or wood or PVC. However, once we’d knocked out the worst of the ‘home improvement projects’, it gave me more time to pursue my other interests.
One of my greatest interests is visual art. I could spend nearly all day going from room to room in a museum, salivating over the beautiful paintings created during the Renaissance Period (or numerous others). Our town doesn’t have anything that contains such a collection, but they do have an artist-owned gallery and after stopping by there a handful of times, I decided to join. Little by little, I started to meet people that shared my love of the arts. Aside from the fact that they’re all senior citizens and unmistakably white, they’re all quite diverse. They each come from different backgrounds with vastly different life experiences. All of us used to gather every ‘first Friday’ at the gallery in order to help promote it within the community. It’s an event that takes place in many cities across the United States to bring artists and/or musicians some long-overdue recognition.
I only remained a member of the gallery for a year. I became disillusioned after not selling a single painting in a year’s time. But I still continued to meet up with ‘the ladies’. We started meeting for lunch once a week and it was just 3-4 of us in the beginning. Each week we’d try a new place, nothing was off limits except for sushi. As the months wore on, the group started to increase. We started out with one table and as our ‘tribe’ grew, we eventually had to request two. I enjoy these outings. Once everyone has an opportunity to order their entrée (separate checks, please), inevitably one of the ladies will ‘chime in’ about what she’s currently dealing with in her life. Nothing is off limits, although most of the time people stick to ‘safe’ topics. I usually get right to the heart of the matter when it’s my ‘turn’. It is so lovely to not only get their support, but their feedback.
Some of the ladies are extremely gentle and compassionate and others a bit ‘off-putting’. One of the ladies talks excessively but is also exceedingly generous. One rarely speaks, but when she does, it is always well thought out and profound. Another one loves to ‘poke the bear’ by bringing up religion and politics but she’s also one of the people you can always count on in your time of need. And yet another is exceedingly lovely and supportive and gracious and what I love most about her is that she’s got a dirty mind like me (and she’s 83!). One is unusually private but occasionally ‘spills the tea’ and when she does, it blows everyone away. Another one of the ladies shares quite a bit about her life, especially about her 3 cats that she treats like children, and what I find quite amusing is her extremely loud and unusual laugh. Whenever we eat at restaurants, we usually get a few stares when she gets started up.
They are all from different walks of life with different beliefs and backgrounds. Some are religious, some aren’t. Some have been married once to the same man for decades, while others have been married multiple times. Some are liberal and some are conservative. What do they have in common? Most have had at least one body part replaced (hips, knees, shoulders), they all have loved and lost at least one person dear to them (or several), and they are all ‘transplants’ just like me (none of them are from the town we reside in). What really binds us all together? All of us appreciate art and love to draw and/or paint. The sisterhood that we have formed has been such a lifesaver! These women have helped me through so many difficult times since I moved to this community. Last week, I actually asked one of them if it was possible to leave the group and she said the only way was to ‘move or die’.
Why did I travel down this particular ‘rabbit hole’ today? I am trying to drive home how important it is that we have other people in our life. As they say, “No man is an island.” My friends, I hate to break it to you, but we need each other. At this moment, if you’re sitting in your home and have no other people in your life and you’re asking yourself how to go about finding your own tribe, I’d like to help you get started. First of all, think about what your interests are and write them down. Write all of them down, don’t edit yourself in the process. Nobody is going to judge you. Interests can be anything from drawing portraits to building model planes to fishing to sculpting to collecting rocks to hiking to cooking to tap dancing, the sky’s the limit. Once you’ve completed your list, now the real work begins, and it’s going to require research. I hate to keep promoting ‘Google’ but that’s the first place I’d start.
When you pull up ‘Google’ on whatever device you’re using, if you enter ‘dance’ or ‘dancing’ along with the town you reside in, I can almost guarantee that you’re going to find several links to dances or dance studios or groups or clubs in your area. Is ‘dancing’ not on your list? Well, how about ‘fishing’? Where I live, there are TONS of fishing clubs and groups, there are even fishing ‘leagues’. After trying ‘Google’, if you’re unable to come up with a single link, there is also ‘Facebook’. Personally, I am not a fan; however, it is another great resource if you’re trying to find other people with common interests. Don’t have a ‘Facebook’ account? Most newspapers print a special edition each week that includes all of the activities taking place within the community. There is also ‘Craigslist’ but that can be a bit sketchy. You might get more than you bargained for if you go on there to join a ‘group’, so maybe just scratch that idea altogether. Hang on! I can already hear you asking about Covid.
Look, I do realize that right now is the worst possible time to give this advice because of all of the restrictions due to the virus; however, there are some groups you can join ‘virtually’ for the time being. And once ‘the coast is clear’, you’ll already have a head start or be well on your way to finding your own group of people that stimulate, challenge, sustain, love, guide, empower, teach and support you as well as hold you accountable. We aren’t always going to be ‘sequestered in our homes’. Someday, we’ll be able to physically get together and hold hands and hug and give each other ‘high fives’ again. Let me tell you, I cannot wait for that day. It cannot come soon enough!! Thanks so much for stopping by! For the folks that are ‘following’ me, I am grateful for you and the continued interest you have in my blog. I love to write and I try to infuse humor into everything I do, and I hope I was able to make you smile. If all goes well and I haven’t run you off, I trust you will return tomorrow as will I.