Maybe We Are the Weirdos

EARTH

Picture this: You grew up and lived in the same town your whole life. The same town was your family’s home for generations. You only friends were life-long friends because hardly anybody moved. Or maybe your “town” was really a caravan wherein a community which included your family would move from place to place as fit their needs. Birth and death were the main two ways that your community changed. Through thick and thin, your community was the way you survived. You didn’t move away or stop being friends with people on a whim because they were basically all you had. Friendship was based on mutual experiences and going through life together (the ups and, especially, the downs) Families were close because at most you had a couple of bedrooms in an adobe house for the three generations of your family alive at that point. For moral, cultural, and survival concerns divorce was uncommon and families tended to stick together. When you got married you might move into your own space (or not) but you were still in that same town or “tribe.”

Now picture this: At every stage of your life you are submerged in a (usually) new group of people consisting mostly of your peers. You are constantly able to connect superficially with a large portion of the planet’s population. It is normal for many families to move two or three times in the course of the 18 years of your early life and these moves could be across state lines or even around the world. Most of the world is accessible to you online or through transportation. If you have a disagreement with someone you can click a button and they are “un-friended.” If you like someone you can click a button and “friend” them. BFF is a common term but the reality is that by your late twenties you are probably not close to anyone you were friends with in high school (much less junior high). Divorce is very common and people often cannot wait to separate from their families at the legal age of 18 (or earlier if possible). The idea of growing out of friendships is popular and the phrase “there are plenty of fish in the sea” is used liberally.

Most people would prefer the current way of life where everything is accessible, but I think we are meant to live in lifelong communities and I don’t think we are very good at it.

3 Comments

  1. People have lived in the same communities for thousands of years, only moved by the forces of nature or war. It is only recent 100-200 years that people started moving away from their rooted communities.

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