Got a few days on the motorcycle with a good friend. We are college buddies and eventually we spent a few years in West Africa working together. We had many late night laughs in mud huts in some rain forest village. We grew close, and honest.
We all have “friends”, but few are the ones we can talk about anything with. The ones who think no less or more of you because they already know our flaws and strengths.
I was reading an article that said loneliness is at an all time high and it increases our likelihood of dying younger by 27%.
Even in this social media age people live isolated and alone, without community.
Therefore, if we have a friend or two we can be honest with in most things, we better count ourselves blessed.
Over the years I used to run often, making the effort to see and connect with many people, but few have made the effort to reciprocate.
Therefore, one day i just gave up. If i made the round trip we would visit, but they rarely did in return, if ever.
I’ve been part of groups that tout being there for community. But when you try to reach out most have their walls up, or lives too full for another person. So you spend most of the time in these groups looking at the sides and backs of people’s heads with little actual community. Outside the group gatherings you are simply unable to engage anyone. It’s been little different though i have invited every member to my house of every group I’ve benn part of. Rarely has anyone extended the desire to connect in return.
I realize it’s just the way it is. But it still makes you feel like an outsider ass, and, as most of us do, we wonder what is wrong with us, as it must be me right? It certainly can’t be them, our a general weakness in our culture.
Community is reciprocal. When it’s not, it is not community. We can fake it and pretend all we want.
I have a few male friends who make the effort to come and hang out with me these days, and I appreciate these guys very much. Unfortunately, they live so far away.
I started having firepit nights in the backyard, an idea inspired by a friend, where I put out open invitations to anyone, hopefully providing an opportunity for anyone to come and connect with us, anyone who would like to. It’s been dismally slow. I’ve sat out by the fire alone, with just me and a book most times. I guess that is ok too. I try enjoy the experience regardless, and I do. But the reality is that so many of us no longer have much deep community.
Living half of each year in Canada and Mali for the last six years does not help much with that for certain.
My motorcycle trips have become a pilgrimage of sorts. A highlight of my year as i get to hang out with a fellow warrior.
I had a college buddy, now working in the area, stop by from time to time.
We also had a couple come from Charlottetown last week. We gathered around the fire with these warriors too. Wish we lived clooser together.
Silences are things true friends can share too. Because we are happy just to “be”, while together.
We star gazed and chatted. We saw, I think it was seven meteors, and dozens of satellites.
A thoroughly great time.
“The most important thing in all human relationships is conversation, but people don’t talk anymore, they don’t sit down to talk and listen. They go to the theater, the cinema, watch television, listen to the radio, read books, but they almost never talk. If we want to change the world, we have to go back to a time when warriors would gather around a fire and tell stories.”
When we hit our forties I think we must lose the ability to pretend or fake it. I know i have. It really pisses off the fakey, pasty smile crowd.
I’m not looking for pasty smiles and pretend community or “friends” that chat weather.
It need not be many. However, we need more motorcycles and fires for the warriors.
At least I do.
How about you?
My fire is open for community.