March 24, 2020-
I’ve historically had it tough, when being part of a group. That hasn’t stopped me from trying. I showed up every day, as a child, to take part the best way I could, in what ever game was being played. In high school, I had friends with whom I could sit in the library and at lunch, and hang out on weekends. Many are still connected-at least online.
I didn’t fare so well in the Army, or in college, but my purpose during those years was much different-and so, the work became most important. The same was true of my first four years of teaching-never an insider, but connected with my students. So it continued, over the next four decades, but family was my bedrock, and the kids were always the foundation.
I say this, in thinking about the groups with which I’ve been involved over the past nine years. My Faith community is the strongest connection, followed by the mostly senior crowd at the American Legion, and my younger friends at Prescott College, both groups now in abeyance, until the virus runs its course. Permaculture groups, like Slow Food and the Farmers Market have warmed to me, over the years.
I have personally committed to helping the Red Cross in the present crisis, only to find there is an “age-ism” rising. The mentality seems to be that those of us over 65 are “at risk” and therefore ought to keep our distance, even beyond the current social distancing. It may be that this is an attitude meant to keep us safe, but I find it patronizing-and more than a little cliquish. I know my limits and would relegate myself to the background, if at all feeling ill. I also am very tuned into the dynamics of small groups, and having seldom been an insider, can see when a situation is being manipulated to exclude all but the favoured few.
In the event there is a much larger calamity, I have become certified in FEMA’s Points of Distribution. I am committed to helping my community, whether being welcomed by the elite, or not. May it all just turn out to be unnecessary.