Tribes we curate
Throughout the years I have met and loved (platonically) an assortment of figures. There are those whose intellectual honesty engages me, some whose spiritual wisdom inspires me, and others whose overall life aspirations bears chemistry with mine (a desire for a more equal world, to be apart of a society without discrimination of any kind, to prioritise the family above all else). But as I discussed in my post about The Language of Friendship, there is something poignantly pure about the friends we formed when we were ourselves forming as adolescents or young adults. In this period of life, we are mindful enough to make a selection based on some aspect of our developing intellect and life value that we feel instinctively connected to, and yet were still innocent enough to speak our truth without censure. It makes for a compellingly honest and genuine transaction, kept alive even after 2 decades.
The History of Our Affection
As individual friendships, our youth was peppered with endless reflective exchanges within the various crevices of Baker Street, Pimlico, Kings Road and London Bridge, the backdrop of our many frustrations and yearnings alike. When we chuck in some Mediterranean, North African and South East Asian flavours into the blend, all deriving from the mould of close-knit tribes and spiritual monotheism, we inevitably produce a dish of solidarity. We trudged through big chunks of our academic life in the centre of the city and swapped humorous anecdotes, well meaning advice and heart stroking solace as life added day to day. Thereafter we sealed our chemistry as a full troika, ironically, after I departed from the Big Smoke. The hope that held us together as adolescents and young adults, kept us comforted during this far more precarious life phase – the middling-late 20s. We stole snapshots of extended weekends perhaps once in a year or two, mostly in London and sometimes in neighbouring cosmopolitans, and each meet-up was like the long drag of a first cigarette after back to back Monday meetings – relaxing, relieving, unknotting.
Eventually, the marriage chapters began, the wedding (or pre-wedding) parties were celebrated with mutual elation and then of course, for some the full force of parenthood unleashed. For me, work took me further and further away from the Western Hemisphere and this only made a reunion more critical at every return to the continent.
A Fall Reunion and Afterthoughts
After an almost successful quorum last summer in Mougins, we made it this time as a party of three converted to a party of 9 (and a half) in the suburbs of London this fall. In a few hours we tried to make up for lost time with bits and pieces of conversation on the status quo – personal and political, the general conditions of our respective families and latest ambitions. It wasn’t enough of course, but we managed to placate ourselves with the assurance that this was only a teaser for longer reunions some time into the future. Leaving such beloved moments though, did make me wonder further about the quality of relationships we make in our lives, and what is the language of this particular tribe we co-created that keeps me so full inside, at each encounter?
Beyond our shared values and the cozy complacency of being in the company of those who knew you before you fully figured out yourself yet, I realised that what still remained powerful in this bond is how they continue to have an inspirational affect on me today, just as how they impacted me back in the 90’s. Loving and filial daughters (and now equally loving and generous wives and mother and mother-to-be), genuinely full of consideration for those around them, always predisposed to seeing and believing the best in people and just simply being full of tender empathy for others. And yet all of these beatific energy comes in an attractively firm and shrewd package – there is a clarity in what they are looking for, an admirable ability to be objective in decision making and a general absence of extreme neurosis and self-flagellating self doubt as they walk down their respective paths. A rare and wonderful combination of being both humble and self-reflective, but also confident and self-assured.
One of the many blessings in life is to be able to cultivate good relations with our communities. For me, it is the fuel that oils my life machinery, the antidote to an incredibly troubling disintegration of other parts of this universe. When we get a chance to cross paths with those who truly radiate a cleanliness of heart and an infectious energy to love, then this can only strengthen the belief that eventually, the good in this world usually prevails. For me, a fulfilling autumn indeed.