I am coming off a rather rough week and realizing that my social circle has diminished. I knew this previously, of course, but this last week was a stark reminder. It is something that I will need to address in the coming year.
How I will address that, however, is still a significant unknown.
As I noted before, we moved back to Saint Paul about six-to-eight months before COVID hit. This meant that there was very little opportunity for connections in offline spaces. In online spaces, I stayed too insular. I focused on my small community, but I didn’t do anything to grow it or build on it. I kept saying I would, but then I didn’t. It certainly didn’t help that the few opportunities we did have for growth ended up featuring people who I wasn’t really interested in having around in the first place.
Online spaces have become more difficult to navigate and finding people I want to associate with is becoming a challenge. Finding people with similar interests isn’t the problem. The problem is that communities are varied and full of some pretty messed-up people with beliefs diametrically opposed to mine. I am messed up, too, don’t get me wrong, but I have standards.
The flip-side of that truth is that it has been easier to not look and to not try. I allowed the few bad experiences and disappointments to become the standard. Changing that requires shifting perspectives. It requires (take a deep breath now) actually joining and engaging in new communities.
Engaging is my issue. If you were to look at my Discord, you’d see that I am in a ton of communities, and I have said absolutely nothing in more than 95% of those communities. I am a very good lurker. There is a small TTRPG community on Twitch that I am a founding subscriber to, and I have never said a word. Even when I support a channel, I do so anonymously.
There are moments when I actually think I have forgotten how to engage in these spaces. It’s odd. I am fine speaking in public. I am fine being in front of a crowd. I can engage and joke and appear comfortable. In online spaces, though, every sentence I write is double-and-triple-checked. Sometimes, it is pure pain just to hit enter.
I want to say that my age is a part of it, but I am not even sure that is true. I am older now, but there are a lot of older people who are just as online. I also don’t really care about being older or younger as long as everyone is an adult. There are definitely generational things that differentiate, but even those are gross generalities. In the long run I am far more interested in the community of people than I am in arbitrary demographics.
Anyway, this is just me rambling now. This post was meant to be a reflection on the last couple of weeks. I told myself that I was going to be more open and vulnerable on here. To re-engage here, as well. This is a part of that.
Oh, and I am working on a new writing/creative project in addition to this. It will have a newsletter component, and I hope to launch early-to-mid February. I even have a few posts up, but I have a lot of refining to do. So, keep watching this spot!!
Finally, if you are reading this (thank you, fellow lurker!
) and you have a community you want to share, feel free to reach out to me via any of my listed social media profiles or via email.
I might even actually respond!