Another Way

 Clamming at the shore - providing for our needs for adventure and food

A tribe is a group of people that rely on each. They could not survive without each other. They care for each others' needs and well-being (food, shelter, companionship, challenge, conversation, love, collective courage, and getting things done that one, two or three people cannot reasonably accomplish).

Recently, I thought wryly that my tribe is Jimmy's, the ice cream and burger place in the next township. There's also the Warren Glen Deli, also known as "The Emergency Ketchup Store". Also, there's the local pool. Reliable, always there. I go to these places because I enjoy them or I burnt dinner. Or, because my kid taught himself how to swim, and I could not bear a quiet mother-child trip to the river. I seek connections to other human beings. I pay for them - meals out, days at the pool. I see the owner of The Emergency Ketchup Store less than my spouse, child, and parents, but more than many of my friends.

I am troubled by this. I am exploring this loneliness of the modern age. I will be writing about this frequently. I have been working through this for the past few years. Evolving my thinking, working on myself, trying to put together community, looking to hop onto existing community trains, watching communities I have been in dissolve and change.

My frustration and loneliness never ebbed no matter what I did. "Maybe I should set something up on the calendar," I proposed to Jared. "You have your nights out, I'll have mine. Or, we take have potlucks every month." Nothing came together. "What if I'm tired, or busy, or it's raining, or sunny and I want to go swimming?" Putting another thing on the calendar seemed daunting. But, I still wondered if I should schedule something regular anyway. Maybe I should work harder.

 And, then I went to a home school park playdate with Beren. No one showed up, not for the playdate anyway.  Hundreds of Roman Catholic Polish pilgrims showed up - they used the park as resting spot. That's life, but Beren and I were discouraged each for our own reasons.

One of the keys is proximity. Real, physical proximity. Nothing takes its place. Proximity brings its own challenges and hard work. Getting along isn't easy or simple. Disagreements happen, but the entire tribe relies on harmony and humor.

Proximity is what made my childhood friendships easy. We lived in a neighborhood. The kids, all ages, got along. No one needed a car. No one had scheduled activities. In summer, only sunrise, sunset, and Ben's father's whistle that meant "dinnertime, so get home now" organized our time.

"Is Carrie home? Can she play?" I might wonder, and she showed up. We found Ben and Chris. We rode up and down the block on bikes and trikes.

I realize I am putting myself out there as one or all of the following:
An *ss

I am ok with that because this lonely modern life is not for me. I can "work on my issues". I can figure out daily practices for self-improvement and balance. Still, this disjointed world I find myself in is here. This world where I bandage my loneliness by asking my husband and child to work harder at filling the gaps, to get along better. Or, we eat out or buy a shirt. Does anyone else notice how this is not working?

It is not working. There is another way. There must be.

Some of my lately resources for questioning:
Joe Rogan's interview with Henry Rollins -
Chris Ryan's interview with Alisa Esposito of Sparkroot Farm