I honestly don’t know that there’s every been a time when I sat in a room with, at a guess, 80 people and knew most of them. Maybe 16 years ago when I was VP at Mallet, if absolutely everyone I knew came to a party I could have managed it. But only maybe.
I spent most of the weekend at a yoga workshop, with 80 or so people in the room, and you could count the number of people whose names I didn’t know without taking your shoes off. And I could rattle off the names of ten or twenty other people I know who are part of the kula but weren’t there.
And when we broke for lunch on Saturday, someone else in the kula was actually working at the place several of us ended up eating. And after the last session this morning, a group of us went for lunch and we actually ran into one of my students.
Maybe for some people, this sort of thing wouldn’t be cause for comment. For me, it’s kind of startling.
Growing up while my dad was in in the Air Force was a wonderful experience in so many way that I can’t list them all, but I fear it inculcated in me an expectation of transience–I got used to not having any roots, of not knowing a lot of people, of not being a member of a community. In some ways, it habituated me to not value and work at preserving and strengthening the connections I have to people–I think this is why I am rarely the person who initiates communications with old friends.
It’s almost certainly why I keep in closer communication with Chet than anyone else from the old days–it’s not just that he happens to be on IM all the time and so forth, it’s the fact that dammit, he calls even though I never do.
For which I am eternally grateful.
But I’ve come to be unhappy with this behavior of mine. It is unworthy of all the wonderful people I know. So I’ve decided to try and change. And hopefully this kula I have here at home, by demonstrating in a thousand different ways why these connections are important and worthwhile, will help me find the wherewithal to shake loose this unfortunate habit.