The Peripherals

Lions have their pride.

Wolves have their pack.
Elephants have a herd.
And crows have their murder.
And I am reminded of the ending scene of the movie About A Boy starring Hugh Grant. The “boy”, Marcus, comments about having Christmas with anyone and everyone who happens to be a friend or family member.
He says it’s good to have “backup” – to not just be a part of a “couple” anymore.
To be a part of a group. A human herd.
And I am wondering, have I got it all wrong?
Our family was made up of four people only.
Our parents came over from England in the 1950’s, and had my brother and I in the 1960’s.
No grandparents were handy. No aunts, uncles, or cousins were nearby.
We were a solitary family of four.
And when our parents divorced, we were even more solitary.
We all keep in touch – but separated at a respectable arms length.
And so, not having that spread of family tree close by, I learned to enjoy my solitude.
I have always enjoyed having one best friend, one significant other.
My introverted self has always seen that as enough.
But my hubby sees it differently.
He came with two teenaged children, two parents who were married for more than 60 years, two siblings and their extended families, and numerous friends.
The peripherals, as I call them.
And it has been something of a culture and social shock for me to accept that.
But it comes with its benefits.
Hubby enjoys the sociality of friends and family.
And I have learned to embrace that.
It has been something of a challenge, to be sure.
I always see alone time as a time to regroup and recharge.
But over the years, I have learned to accept that extended family and friends are a rejuvenator all on their own.
Kind of a Master Mind effect.
Everyone wishes the best for everyone else.
Everyone is supportive of everyone else.
And everyone is caring of everyone else.
It’s incredible.
I think of elephant herds who mourn the loss of a family member.
To wolves and lions who unite to hunt to provide food.
To crows who enjoy playing games and caring for each other.
Of course, there are species who enjoy their solitude.
Most members of the wild cat family, such as cheetahs, are loners – seeing other members as competition.
Many birds, such as swallows, robins, swans and cardinals, are significant-others only.
There is no right or wrong way to be.
But I do know, as humans, we are meant to be social creatures more than creatures who are on our own.
We are meant to collectively help and care for each other, to assist and support wherever necessary.
Like the nomadic tribes and cultures around the world, who heavily depend on each other for food and basic survival.
It’s a steep learning curve to many of us who have learned to be self-sufficient and independent and able to occupy ourselves without the distraction of social interactions.
But it’s a good pill to swallow.
And I am grateful for all of my peripherals.


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