Seems a little far-fetched
If I weren’t me, didn’t know me, and heard someone describing a person with all the characteristics of me, I would think it sounded like a ridiculous person.
If you want to relive the childhood thrill of watching all the water get sucked away when you pull the bathtub drain plug, go around unclogging leafy storm drains in your neighborhood when it has been raining. Good, clean fun.
However, I must advise that should your enthusiasm for this venture prompt you to do it in what are called “atmospheric river” conditions, neither rain jacket nor umbrella will keep you from getting thoroughly, head-to-toe, squishy-sock soaked. Will my perfectly good pair of walking shoes ever be the same again? Probably not. Even cheap thrills can get expensive quickly.
When eating Halloween candy on the go, please do not scatter the wrappers on public thoroughfares. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.
Find it where you can
The idea of belonging has been on my mind lately.
I don’t enjoy a very robust sense of family belonging. Probably, for many people, by the time the solid idea of the family you were born into is starting to collapse, you’re making a new family unit with yourself as (one of) its hub(s). As this trajectory does not particularly pertain to me, what I’m left with are discrete relationships with select “related” individuals and, elsewhere, the voids where estrangements have happened or people have simply become busy with all their own doings.
There are other forms of belonging, such as those based around a workplace or a religion, that do not particularly pertain to me either.
My decision to leave Facebook a few years ago removed even that last superficial whiff of belonging I could get by scrolling through and seeing what everyone I had ever known was doing, without actually talking to them.
As I’ve thought about it, I’ve had to consider that maybe I am committed to not belonging, to finding a way to not belong, no matter what. You know, like a character defect. I wouldn’t rule that out as a possibility.
But what I’ve settled on, for the time being, is that what I’m actually striving for is a more expansive form of belonging, and one that remains available to me regardless of circumstance and beyond identification with any particular group of people:
I want to belong here and now.
I want to belong here in the sense that I want to feel connected to the space I’m in, operate as skillfully as I can within it, and ideally leave it a little better than I found it, no matter where I find myself.
I want to belong now in the sense that if someone comes knocking on me looking for some kind of human connection or commiseration, I want to be open enough to answer. I want to be present with the person or the experience in front of me.
If I belong here and now, I belong no matter what.
In theory, at least. I’ll let you know how it goes.