It’s been awhile. I have several partially written blog posts which are unfinished because, on second thought, I didn’t want to fuel the fire. I still don’t. The fire scares me, and I’m not going to add to it.
This post is about tribe, defined as a group or community that shares a common culture and is linked by economic, social, religious, or family ties.
I rolled my eyes when I heard that word a few years ago. Here we go again with the trendy and catchy label. I dislike it. The other thing is I never quite fit in.
A few days ago, I read an article about women over sixty and what they need to keep living a healthy and active life. One of those things was a tribe, a group or community with a shared culture, language, ideas, religion, etc. You get the idea. We need to be part of something.
Do you belong to a tribe? How about your family? Do you spend time with siblings, aunts and uncles, parents and grandparents, or cousins? Maybe you belong to a church group and spend time going to church, teaching Sunday school, or helping the poor and homeless. Your tribe could be the bowling league you belong to, or the hiking club, a book club, other gamers, or people you work with. Maybe, like many people I know, you are a writer and hide yourself away in your office alone while you work. Do you have a tribe then? I hope so because many writers still reach out through the internet and connect with people that way.
For me, I’ve always wanted to be part of something, to be included, to be accepted. I’ve skittered along the borders of groups, invited in, but not absorbed into the group. Over time, and I mean decades, I’ve come to realize that’s who I am and I don’t need a specific group, what I have are individuals that make Venn diagram of several tribes.
Recently, I met a friend I hadn’t seen or talked to for months. We chatted about what was going on in our lives beyond our Facebook posts. We got on the subject of tribe and agreed we belong to each other’s tribe despite the fact we don’t see each other very often. We share interests in writing, astronomy, pets, and travel. She talked about her friends from New York who are still her friends and part of her tribe even though they don’t know her like they did when she lived in New York. I have friends and family like that. We are scattered all over the country, yet we still belong to a tribe.
Facebook connected me to some of my high school classmates. I wasn’t close to most of these people back then, but almost forty years later, I love these women. We have lived diverse lives, but we’ve connected on some other level and I consider them a tribe. I have a couple of friends from work that love fantasy and superhero movies. We read similar books and go out to lunch and a movie. There are women in my life that like to preserve food and I’ve spent time canning peaches with them, or going to a you-pick-it farm to get apples, or corn, or cucumbers for pickles. One of those women is part of my work tribe and the movie tribe.
My writing group is my tribe of words. Their insights help me fashion comprehensible stories. I couldn’t do it without them. Then there are the Superstars Writing Seminar people that are another tribe of writers, editors, publishers and they have their own circle in my Venn diagram.
I recently visited my ninety three year old Godmother. Yes, 93. She takes care of the other old ladies in her tribe by taking them to the doctor or to get their hair fixed. Yes, she still drives and goes out for meal with her friends. She is a long time member of the German club. She still sews. She showed me these beautiful curtains she made for her house. The curtains were much nicer than any commercially made ones. During the hours I spent with her, her phone rang at least four times. Her friends were calling to chat. Two years ago, she went to Germany for a month. She has a lovely attitude towards life and this is what I aspire to.
I am over sixty. I retired after thirty four years in the telcom industry and went back to work ten months later in the same industry. I had to go back to work to help pay for all the things I’m interested in doing, like traveling, attending workshops, concerts, and working on my house. My tribes keep me interested in life and doing things and push me to improve myself, my writing, and my knowledge base. As I age, I appreciate my tribes more and more. I am not bored. I am interested in more things than I can absorb. I want to keep moving and learning and experiencing things.
The point of the post is to encourage you to stay interested in life, be a part of what is happening around you. Stay positive and take some time to figure out your own tribes. In the long run, they will help keep you going.