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.