Sunday, September 26, 2021

On The Shrinking Of Social Circles.

 I was sitting down considering my list of acquaintances and people I interact with this weekend and came to the somewhat shocking realization (why, I do not know) of how much my circle has shrunk in the last 18 months.

Some of it is to be expected, I suppose.  With the arrival of The Plague, church, service with the coffee committee, and the associated church group simply fell away in terms of meeting together.  The idea of a virtual meeting together for the associated church group was attempted for a while but (at least for me) it never really had the same sort of impact. The fact that the group was easy enough to let go and not go back gives me some idea of the importance it held in my life.  

The Plague also effectively put a temporary hold on Highland Games as well, although that change had been coming as I found driving more than two hours to do an activity was not really something that was that motivating.  Since the end of 2019 I have thrown once and it seems likely I may throw once (possibly) this year as well - if I happen to be in town.  I used to see the same group of people 8-12 times a year; I have seen none of them since last November.

The Book of Face has been a large change in the socialization network as well - not that I saw those people frequently, but I did interact with them frequently.  One or two of those people I talk to regularly off the platform - The Berserker  is one, The Valkyrie is another.  

I see the same group of folks at the Rabbit Shelter every week of course, and my fellow Iaidoka on a regular basis.  And Uisdean Ruadh every trip back to The Ranch, and The Actor and The Accountant every second or third visit back.  My sister and brother in law every time I am back, of course.  And my family - at least, everyone that is home right now: The Ravishing Mrs. TB, Nighean Gheal, and Nighean Dhonn regularly, Nighean Bhean when she comes up from her apartment (often corresponding with dinner, it seems).  

But truly, outside of the ubiquitous "conference calls" for work, that is it.  Really not more than 25 people, total, on a regular basis. 

(You all, of course.  But that is a separate sort of circle.)

Oddly enough, I find this much less of a hardship than I had anticipated.  Two years ago, I would have thought it unmanageable.

To be fair, I think this falls into a theme that I am realizing - almost unawares - that has come into my life.  The phone post yesterday started the thought, but this accounting of human contact seems to be extending it.  The theme of simplifying and focus my life.

I do not know I have a great deal more to say on it at the moment, as the thought literally just occurred to me as I am writing.  But I will say that I find those interactions I have now are probably more meaningful and important than the larger series of interactions I used to have. 

And I do not know that I can say that is a bad thing.


6 comments:

  1. We have parallel observations. My family has changed somewhat, but the relationships that remain have deepened and developed in ways I'd not expected. A few old friends have resurfaced, and work acquaintances have faded and dropped off.

    It's encouraging in a way. The fluff is blowing away, and what remains is valuable. With the fluff leaving, there is a bit more time to interact with the valuable.

    Maybe the pruning of dead wood from our lives is more important and necessary than I understood. We've been too busy with the unimportant, and this pox has put things in perspective.

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    1. STxAR - It has been a clarifying moment for many for all kinds of reasons. Lots of people are rethinking a lot of things, partially because of the fact that a lot of things were suddenly removed from our lives and a lot of us found that we could make do with a lot of different things - activities, relationship, even things - that we previously thought were necessities.

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  2. Anonymous3:27 AM

    You may also notice less extended family meetings after parents have passed on. Not hostility mind you, it is just families getting together for Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter seem to fade away when parents / grandparents are no longer here. I guess all of our own family plans take over when it becomes events centered on each of us. Weddings / funerals are the exceptions.

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    1. We have noticed it as well. When I was young, my great aunt - the one who used to own The Ranch - used to have a family Christmas with all of her sister's and their children and relatives. A rather large house was completely full. Over time, that went away, replaced first by our own family Christmas and then spending time with my Aunt and Uncle for a brunch on Christmas Day. That was on hold since 2019, and with the death of my mother's sister Aunt J and my parent's condition, it is likely that we will only see that periodically if at all going forward. We are actually deciding if, given everything, we even want to go back for Christmas this year. Eventually that, too, will fade - although almost everyone of my generation is still close to my hometown, so at least a Christmas gathering of some kind may still be in the cards.

      Family Reunions fade even more quickly.

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  3. Interesting thoughts, TB, and got me to thinking about a lot of things. While I’m an introvert by nature, I have an eclectic group of friends from different stages of life, and I’m pretty good about staying in touch with folks and keeping up. The wife and I have always been part of a small group (10-20 people) at church, and the one we’re in now is perhaps the best ever — all empty nesters, some retirees and some still working. 14 of us, seven couples. We have a loose meeting schedule, every other week, but we take long brakes and rarely does everyone make it. Last night we were down to just two couples (us and another) so we met for dinner out. We care for each other and act as the body of Christ to each other.

    I have six guys I consider my best friends, all of whom go back in life with me anywhere from 35-50 years. I also have a few very close female friends that go back that far. Some of those (guys and girls) stay in contact better than others, but I know I could call any of them at any time and count on them for any kind of help or support I need. Altho I’m not a big phone talker and I eschew social media, I have found texting a good way to at times communicate. It’s probably the sole reason my late brother and I were able to maintain a relationship.

    Don’t know where I am going with all of this but as I said, you made me think and this is what I thought of. Thanks.

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    1. Bob, we find ourselves in that rather awkward stage where we are not quite empty nesters, not retired, but at the same time not involved in a lot of social groups via the kids as we used to be. We have our own separate friend groups, but limited ones together partially I think because we are in this weird twilight zone. I think at some point in the next two years - largely coinciding with the last high school graduation - some of this gets worked out.

      It is also a bit odd in that mid term, we are not necessarily planning on staying here but moving back to The Ranch, so we are geographically between places as well.

      I literally have more friends now that I talk to via various medias than I do that I see in person. That strikes me as strange.

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