On Belonging

Day 324 Week 48 Q4  Sunday, November 20, 2022

Creative outliers sometimes gravitate toward excessively defining their own lives and living on their own terms. In other words, we often create our own world and then go and live in it. This is true for video game developers, composers, authors, painters and even to self-employed entrepreneurs. We sometimes do this because working for others does not work well for us. And as we become increasingly successful in our careers, we may find ourselves dominating the universe we live within, even if we may have shrunk its size of it to have so much influence. 

Taken to an extreme, some become control freaks, increasingly disregarding inputs from others. While it can be productive and satisfying to be the master of your own universe, it can also limit and stunt your growth. After an extended period of having much control over your life, it can be refreshing to emerge from your cave, studio, laboratory or office and be part of something larger than yourself. In fact, even if you are the one who created the new circumstances, you do not have to dominate it but can simply immerse yourself and revel in being part of something larger than yourself.

Sometimes, gestation and sequestration is called for, and other times it is nice and simple not to have to make all of the decisions. A great deal of satisfaction comes to me from relating to others, not just myself. Even when creating a storm, it is worthwhile getting into a feedback loop with an external reality or more than one reality. We may be quite capable of constructing and occupying our own universe or even universes, and to some extent, we all do that. But this does not disqualify the option of being externally driven here and there. Immersion in the outside world is necessary to be healthy as we are not islands, even if we sometimes benefit from it. 

It can be refreshing to come on out and be part of a larger flow. There is a great deal to experience and learn which has nothing to do with you, your insights or your works. And this does not have to be a dipping of one’s toes in the external waters; you can actually dive in and submerge yourself in it and get completely wet. This is most often done with family and friends but can also be done with less-defined relationships as well. 

Even though I am writing this entering the colder weather part of the year where I live, where last week’s t-shirts are giving way to this week’s winter coats, jumping in the water is fine and refreshing. You might even remember that you do know how to swim and that it feels good to get out of your pond and into a larger body of water.

A community may not come about naturally to everyone, and you might not even find one appropriate for you, so use some of those creative skills to invent one. And then join it! And be a part of it. Not just a founder or leader. Let go and swim in a larger community wherever it comes from.

My two cents this sub-freezing morning in upstate New York.