Wednesday, January 2, 2013

desperate times

Nate got me a book for Christmas that I really wanted. It's a college textbook about managing stress. Ha! I'm excited because it's talking about chakras (and how they coincide with Maslow's hierarchy of needs!! fascinating!!) and spirituality as if they are givens for human beings - the book even says "15 years ago, you wouldn't have found this stuff being discussed in a college textbook, but it's all changing."

It's also stressful to read the first few chapters, because they discuss how so much of our stress comes from technological and physical isolation. The mystic in me is in mourning for the first world. Mother Theresa said Americans are the loneliest people, and I can attest to that. Nate and I watched a documentary called Happy on Netflix, and the people you feel most jealous of aren't the rich people - it's the super-connected families and the divorced woman in Denmark living in a communal home.

My parents moved to an "intentional community" when I was in fourth grade. They built a house in the country next to other families with kids. "A little suburb on purpose," you could call it. They learned a lot about human nature, and themselves; one of the families moved because they needed to, another went through a painful divorce, another wreaked havoc on the group thanks to what I'm pretty sure was an untreated personality disorder in the father. I was mostly off having fun with all the kids during this period, but as I got older I watched and thought "I'm going to be smarter about trusting the right people." Then I proceeded to fail at that, many times over.

This week marks six years that I've been living in a city. I'm the same age my parents were when they chose to prioritize very close community, and my kids are the ages I was. And I get why they did it, even with all the shit they had to go through. I know so many great people, but we're all lucky to see each other a few times a month. Everyone has different work schedules, and the culture of connection revolves around restaurants and alcohol that I can't afford, despite busting my ass to try. I lost my friends who are moms when I got divorced, and even with Nate very present for me, I feel isolated much of the time. Kids make it much harder for me to be able to do group things. My theology has shifted and I don't fit at the church that was meeting my baseline communal needs when I first came to Nashville. I've tasted city life, and it was a necessary stage in my growth - you've got to spread your wings to figure out who you are and to experientially determine if the shiny things make you happier.

Endless new coffee shops to sit in with my new bangs isn't doing it for me anymore. Love and connection are the treasure in the field that I would sell everything to have more of. Maybe we'll up and move next to one of my brothers and sisters one of these years.