Made for community

.

.

Yesterday was my birthday.  No longer the opportunity to gets loads of “stuff” (to add to the stuff I already have).  Every year the burden of giving a list of “stuff” to those who need to buy me stuff (because it is my birthday or Christmas) becomes ever more intrusive and just plain wrong.  The task of (not readily) producing a list has become a cause for friction.  Which I think very odd when the day is (allegedly) one of celebration of my life.

The pressure to produce a list “because I/they” need to buy me something seems increasingly nuts.  But every year the same thing happens.  Until this year.

I suggested that we have a family day at the seafront-amusements-arcades-funfair – and that any money intended for “my presents” was instead put towards (the expensive) wrist-bands for the wee ones and then if any was left over, that we have a takeaway-meal together in the evening.

What a fab birthday it was!

The ratio of adults to little ones was 1-1, and the differing interest/needs of those (even six months apart in age) was accommodated with smiles and laughter.  The cost of paying for an “expensive family day-out” was embraced as no cost at all.  And the weather wasn’t the best but meant the rides had no queues at all.  On top of that  each adult found they were spending time with different little (and big ones) the whole afternoon!  But the best bit – which is going to sound REALLY bad … When one of the wee ones felt sick (and was) – mum simply found a warm quiet coffee-shop to let him snooze/rest while the rest of us carried on.

.

.

The phrase “self-isolating” has now entered our vocabulary.  And with it the trepidation of self-isolating – facing the prospect of self-isolating.  A trepidation of “I would go nuts after three days” “I can’t go without seeing others”“I need other people” …  All of which is true and is NOT exclusive to self-isolating (or normal living).

.

.

We have never had MORE opportunity for community than in this day and age of social-media and always-on. 

But we squander community in preference for “I am right and you are wrong”.  We have made this opportunity for community another playground for childish warfare.  For rage and wrongs, for name-calling and petty squabbles.  For a soapbox never intended with an unnecessary (and ugly) narrative of bile and bitterness.
.

.

Yet we have our own family “community” (using WhatsApp messaging-picture-videos AND WhatsApp video-calls) that have brought us closer than ever as a family.  We also already shop for each other (in real shops and online).  We already support each other (sometimes with less face-to-face contact than with work colleagues or friends). 

We have the tools of community readily available right now.

Yet like panic buying, we seem to always see what we DON’T have rather than what we DO have.  We prefer NOT to see “community” already in our home, street and town choosing instead to see (poor) “me me me”.

Make America Great … The Great British bulldog spirit … ?

All those soundbites we happily make our own “national identity” … ?  THAT isn’t community – THAT is politicians doing politics.

Right now I have choices:

Do we buy more than we need or not … do we face self-isolation as imposed solitary confinement or find our lives not that different … do we cling to “stuff” or to each other (even if that “clinging” is more virtual / two-metre-spaced than usual) … do we become what we are told we must be – or do we choose to remain who we really (and already) are:

Innately good, instinctively kind AND generous human beings?

But I have ALWAYS had those choices – I will ALWAYS have those choices – and right now (as in every moment) – it’s ALWAYS my choice (if I allow) AND …

When I choose to say that I have no choice.
.

.