The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Loner

I was replying to an email this morning, asking a question concerning perceptions. The writer had made a statement I had heard before, many times in fact. But it was something I rarely questioned out loud.

I grew up pretty much an outsider. The baby brother, teased by my older siblings , not particularly adept at anything. Naturally shy, not athletically inclined, I didn't try to join into much. I pretty much went my own way in the world. As we all do, I suppose. We find a path that suits us, or we make our own.

But a lot of things influence what path we take. Ambition certainly is important. That drive to attain some goal. But also we network, we build relationships with others, we become part of communities, both small and large. The small communities are our circle of friends, and/or (later) business associates/co-workers, the larger communities might be neighborhoods, towns, or cities. They can even be large parts of the population, such as ethnic groups.

I don't want to get too far off my point here and I can't dig as deeply into this subject in the limited scope of a blog so I am going to hope you are grasping the essence of what I am going to say.

I was never really part of any community.

If you look over at my Profile (over there, on the right), you'll see my picture. Under the picture it says "A guy without a real home town." That is a very important part of my nature, of who I have become over the years. We see ourselves as a part of something. We identify as more than just a singular entity, one person. We are a part of a family, a craftsman, a writer, a sportsman, a hunter, a New Englander, a poet, a westerner... well, you get my drift; we are a member of some community.

I'm not. Oh, don't get me wrong. I am a blogger so I am part of this community. And I do have a family that I am part of. And I live in a town, I play golf with a group of men. Within that, I am a member of a regular foursome. I have friends, people I socialize with.

Throughout my life, I have been part of things, groups of friends, school activities, had roles in plays, was a member of the military, a part of a large company, part of an office staff, one of a work crew, a husband, even helped form and, later, run a BBS association.

But there is something else that I can't quite, and never have been able to, define that should be there that doesn't seem to be. It's an intangible. A nagging feeling of being that piece that doesn't seem to fit anywhere in the puzzle.

And it has always set me apart.

11 comments:

IB said...

Are you inside my head? I very much relate to this post. I've been part of many groups but always felt a bit off, outside, alone...

One of the things I find interesting about blogging is the community, which I had no idea existed. I find it fascinating and very attractive but, at the same time, it makes me want to take a step back. It's like I know, on some level, I won't be able to, nor will I want to, keep up with whatever obligations being a member in good standing requires.

And that's no one's fault, not even mine. I think it's just who I am. I am a loner to a large degree. I am intensely private by nature and need a LOT of personal space. It's how I cope with...well, everything.

I really like this post. Thanks!

IB

The Jules said...

I would (and do) consider it a blessing not to be too conformist to any particulalr niche. It allows us to communicate with, and take part in, a much wider spectrum of society.

It's good to walk with kings but not lose the common touch ;-)

Cheri Block Sabraw said...

I am wondering if what you are writing about is about the larger picture in life.

I am not sure what the 'it' in your last line means.

And also, to what extent do you do the 'setting apart' as opposed to the 'it'?

PS Sorry I forgot that you were familiar with the Bay Area.

Douglas said...

Ian and Jules - Yes, ironically we are private yet we publish. Think about it a bit.

Cheri - Thanks for stopping by. I was trying to touch upon a couple of things; one personal and one more general. Humans are "herd animals". We have a natural desire to belong to a group, to be a part of something. Some of us also have an urge not to be part of the crowd, to be individuals, to be independent. For us, there is a constant struggle. And that is probably the "it" you refer to. A blog is too short to express a very complex idea such as the one I tried.

I was not offended, no apology necessary. I love the Bay area and would have loved to live there. I especially liked Berkeley.

The Logistician said...

Interesting. One in that situation might, through the miracle of social networking / new media vehicles, start their own forum or discussion group, for those similarly situated who do not feel a part of any other group. Might be interesting. I thought that I had a name for the group, but just looked it up in the dictionary and it is not spot on.

Brenda Bowers said...

Douglas, I could have written this post almost; at least the very last part.

I thought for a long time it was being an only child and having all my friends go home at night with their brothers and sisters while I went home alone.

Then as I grew up I couldn't figure it because I always had friends and groups. But then I didn't. Again this was my fault because I have a multitude of talent, but stick to nothing long enough to develop beyond the point where I know I could if I would, or wanted to. Which of course means I leave the group for lack of interest in what they are doing.


Have had in my lifetime wonderful friends who were people who should have been lifetime friends because we were so close and their loyalty and trust in me was so much more than I deserved. I moved on and somehow left them behind with a letter once or twice a year for a few years. Then ten more years or so with that Christmas card and brief message. I no longer send Christmas cards.

Had children that I enjoyed as children; even as teens. I don't much care for the adults they have become tho. Somehow they have forgotten, or spurned, the values I thought I had taught them.

They were my life for so many years and yet now that they are on their own I am happy to go my own way with just Lewis, my dog and two rabbits. I sometimes wonder if I am an unnatural mother--but not too long since I really don't have time to ponder the heavy stuff. :) Or, maybe I don't want to know.

"But there is something else that I can't quite, and never have been able to, define that should be there that doesn't seem to be. It's an intangible. A nagging feeling of being that piece that doesn't seem to fit anywhere in the puzzle."
BB

Douglas said...

Log - It should be called "Alien Nation" perhaps.

Brenda - Thanks for reading. Yes, you do get it. You also caught that little bit of sadness and even the tinge of guilt. Well said. There are more of me out there than I thought.

Linda S. Socha said...

Some pieces fit...some are catalysts for new puzzels..Linda

Michael said...

I complain about the fact that I am alone too often, when I have one friend that means so much to me.

Well, you sound alright with it. I hope you are.

You made me pause for ten minutes there to think about how much my best friend means to me. Hm.

Michael.

Douglas said...

Log - It should be called "Alien Nation" perhaps.

Brenda - Thanks for reading. Yes, you do get it. You also caught that little bit of sadness and even the tinge of guilt. Well said. There are more of me out there than I thought.

The Jules said...

I would (and do) consider it a blessing not to be too conformist to any particulalr niche. It allows us to communicate with, and take part in, a much wider spectrum of society.

It's good to walk with kings but not lose the common touch ;-)