Thursday, May 12, 2011

Finding Your Tribe

One of the most important parts of my adult social life has been the finding of my tribe(s). I'm very blessed to have been born into a lovely family full of people I genuinely enjoy spending time with. This entry is not about them nor in any way meant to disparage them, but merely about those other tribes we find in life.

In my life (outside of family) I have three tribes. Most people have trouble locating one, I'm so blessed to have three. (Yes I just used the word blessed twice in close succession. That's how I feel.) Finding your tribe is about finding people who care passionately about the same things you do. People you can have a 45 minute conversation with before you even exchange names. Those conversations that are almost incomprehensible to people outside your tribe. These are my three. I write about them in hopes you might be able to identify who your potential tribes are.

Those 45 minute conversations before you bother to exchange names? They happen to me all the time at library conferences. I cheerfully wear myself out going from 6:30am (when I meet someone for breakfast) until late at night (meeting people for late night drinks, deserts, coffees, just chatting in hotel lobbies until all hours). In every session, in lines at restaurants, in the hallways, every person is a friend waiting to be met. We always seem to have something to talk about and some of the post-conference follow ups have lead to great things for me/my library/programming/etc. Library conferences always feel like "coming home" to me because of the people. That is a sure sign that you've found your tribe.

Crafty People
Mostly it is knitters and crocheters, but I have quite the kinship with all crafty people. Partially because I also sew, scrapbook, cardmake, cross-stitch, etc., but mostly because there is just some overarching motifs that all crafty people feel. Last week in the button/thread aisle of JoAnns I ended up in a 20 minute conversation with two other ladies as we gave each other advice matching notions to projects and compared using natural materials versus man made materials. I knit in public and often get other knitters who come up to "talk shop" with me. These are the conversations that are mostly incomprehensible to outsiders, full of jargon, in jokes, and references. My tribe speaks my language.

Church People
In church, I find people who share the same world view as me, the same mores and morals. When I don't understand where the rest of the world is coming from, I find like minded individuals there. When I'm tired and weary, exhausted and frustrated, ready to give up, these are the individuals who lift me up and give me strength. It's almost impossible to explain how important these people are in my life. My family is over 5,000 miles away and these are the people who I spend holidays with, who celebrate with me, cry with me, drive me to the hospital. They go beyond tribe and are my family in everything but DNA.

Some people cross lines. I have some Christian knitter friends or some crafter librarian types and those people are doubly close to me. Have you found your tribe yet? When you do, it can be the most rewarding part of your life.


PixieMum said...

Although I link with you in that I'm a librarian (albeit retired), a Christian (Anglican) and knit and can crochet, the family groupings you talk about in your blog would be very different in UK according to my experience anyway.

I've worked in many types of libraries, some with few qualified staff but never would I say it is like a second family. I'm in touch with staff from the first library in which I worked only because a colleague organises a meal together in London a few times a year.

We talk about our church family, but in our church it is rather fragmented and cliquey. There is a time of change, our vicar has been with us barely a year but has made changes. A couple of weeks ago our associate priest left, she's gone to another parish and is sorely missed from both a spiritual and personal perspective level. Church attendance in GB is quite low.

I attend a knitting group at a LYS but the girls there are acquaintances rather than friends.

Born Librarian said...

Not every staff member at my library is my second family, it's more likely to be my professional colleagues I meet at conferences or the few of my library school friends I keep up with.

I don't think every knitter, every librarian, every Christian will be my bosom buddy. For me identifying what I am passionate about has made it easier for me to find my people.

I'm sorry about your church. It is really hard when your church family is as dysfunctional as some (but not all) birth families can be. Hopefully as you get a more stable staff situation, it will help the congregation.