We keep hearing these days that if we're lonely, we just need to "find our tribe," i.e., individuals with whom we can feel we have at least one thing in common.
And although there's sometimes truth to the old saying, "If you're unhappy, don't bother moving to a different place; you take your problems with you no matter where you go," I think it sometimes does make a difference where you live and you might have more luck finding your tribe in another area.
As my previous story here pointed out, I'm an old lefty/liberal, childless-by-choice woman living in a very conservative area and unable to move since Husband refuses. So I've made an effort by volunteering, trying meet-up.com and other groups (no churches since I'm an atheist).
But seem to keep running up against the fact that in this area, the women in my age group who come the closest to what I think might be my tribe all seem to be highly educated and professional, and my earlier submission described my lack of success with joining, to name just one example, a local feminist group who only takes those with degrees or who are getting degrees.
So since they say that art can help with emotional stress, I submitted three entries to a local poetry contest run by the local progressive newspaper.
In addition to loving these poems I wrote and how good it felt to speak from my heart, I admit that I was also hoping that one might get published as an honorable mention.
And, too, that some of the local, elderly, liberal, professional women I used to know mostly through working at the local university might notice, remember that I exist, contact me, and invite me to one of their private book clubs (or something). Then I might've found my tribe, yay!
None of mine were accepted, however; and looking at the winners and the list of honorable mentions, they all appear to be degreed, professional people.
The newspaper said all names were removed before the judges read the poems and I believe them; I don't think any favoritism was involved. What I am starting to think is that maybe those who all along have told me that it's always better to be as highly educated as possible are right. In this case anyway, the poetry by the highly educated was deemed the best.
So finally I arrive at: what if you do manage to find your tribe but you're not allowed in? Or rather, the fact is that there is no tribe at all for some people?
I think that might explain at least some of the sadness of some of the elderly: they never found a tribe and it's too late now (especially if you no longer drive).
So I think I need to finally stop wearing myself out trying to find my tribe anywhere other than online; I'm too old to keep getting my hopes dashed. As Donovan put it, "I may as well try and catch the wind."