5: fellowship [HOPE]

What community has engaged you most this year and what did it you get out of your participation?

Okay, I am really struggling to think of something for this one. This year has been a year of distancing rather than immersing myself in groups of people.

One of my recent epiphanies was that I am rather anxious about friendships. There are friendships that I keep going mainly because I do not want to be friendless, not now, but in my old age. I have seen too many examples of older people, including my parents, who didn’t cultivate friendships in their youth and then, once their kids have grown up, find themselves a bit isolated, especially when older family members have their own friends circle. Also, I have gone through periods of loneliness and maybe that’s made me realise I cannot live entirely without people even though I’m picky about people.

So I feel obliged to have physical friends in Hong Kong. I was panicky when I struggled to keep up relationships because V decided he wasn’t interested, even though the truth was I wasn’t that interested either. Right now, I’m struggling a little with the need to have a friends circle, as a fallback plan more than anything because my life is actually quite busy now, and the realisation that I kind of know from the outset which friends are going to work out and whether it is any use cultivating randoms. Anyway, it was pointed out to me that I don’t need to think so much about this, especially as I am in a stage of life when there are many family-related things to do, and my need to talk to people is covered by a number of connections in different countries. And also that casual networks – the people one lunches with ocassionally, for example – do count. For me, they don’t, because I cannot count on them. I am still not entirely convinced one can take a laissez-faire attitude to friendship, but it seems ironic to be worrying about it, so I’m going to let it go.

Interestingly, the  standout times I’ve been immersed in groups of people that I enjoyed were in India:

1. Hung out with Curly and another of our old friends and it was fun, as it always is. So hopefully, I do have something to go back to, if I ever need to. And maybe this is a good reason to go back.

2. Had a very enjoyable evening with MinCat and her crew. It was a very hippie evening that will make me smile wistlfully for a long time. I pointed out MinCat that she has a talent for collecting interesting people and throwing them together. I suck at this so I need to hang on to her coattails. My problem is that I want to be part of such groups but don’t have the energy to maintain them.