Monday, February 22, 2016

Living Happy #11: Find Some Place To Belong

Do you ever get that feeling that nobody understands you, and you don't quite fit in?  It's not uncommon, and it can make you feel left out, lonely, and isolated.  It's important in life to find those places where we feel like we belong.  It's easier for some than others, but we need to have people in our life that believe the same thing, think the same way, enjoy the same things, and where we can share these common bonds.

Perhaps this is a group that shares a common interest, like a quilting group, a reading group, or a bicycle clue.  Perhaps it is a place of worship where we best bond with other people.  It could be a social club, or a fraternity, or a sportsman club.  There's no shortage of opportunities to get involved and meet people that share our common beliefs--whatever they might be.

My first job at the University of Illinois was at the student union--I worked in the Student Programs and Activities Office, and I worked very closely with the Registered Student Organizations Office.  There were (and still are) hundreds and hundreds of Registered Student Organizations.  There's a group for everything.  There were music groups.  There was a skydiving club.  There was a bicycle jousting club (I tried that one year at Quad Day when all the groups were on our Quad.  Basically you ride a bike at each other, dressed as a knight of the round table and try and knock the other guy off with a big foam pool noodle.  It's very fun.)  There was something call underwater hockey that I just had to go and see for myself--that not really a spectator sport--all you can really see is a bunch of bubble as the team was diving down to push a puck across the bottom of the pool.  There were reading groups.  There were groups in support of a thing and against that same thing.  There were political groups.  There were religious groups.  The diversity was astounding.  Some groups had only a few members, and other groups had hundreds of members.  But it was pretty clear to me that people that share a common interest or belief enjoy being around others with that same interest or belief.

For me over the last decade it's been Freemasonry, but that may not be for everyone.  I have two very good friends that enjoy riding Harley Davidson motorcycles, and almost all their friends enjoy that same thing.  I have another friend that has been in love with Star Wars since he saw it forty years ago.  He's in a group that dresses up like Star Wars characters--he's Darth Vader.  That group does great work with kids, and as you can imagine has a resurgence of interest since the new Star Wars movie came out with all of our old favorites featured--Lord Vader has been very busy lately.  Believe me--somewhere out there, there's a place where you belong.

Humans are social by nature, and in order to be happy, it's important that we share common bonds with our fellow man.  Those relationships enrich us.  

~Todd E. Creason

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