If you live in a traditional society, you know the feeling of “belonging”. Your identity forms within that culture. You became who you are by the influence of your surroundings. Your family, your relatives, your friends, your colleagues, your village, your county. All of these shapes your personality. You feel connected. Your bonds to your family is so strong that you can not think about yourself without that extended family members even. Therefore whole clan, family members force you to obey their rules, their moral values. If you are one of the member of mainstream you do not question of your identity. You conform to whatever is giving to you. You are the daughter of your father, wife of that man. You go to same church, or mosque or synagog that your parents go to. You do not look for another one, unless there is something dramatically wrong.
Your life is pretty much designed before you were even born.
You will go to certain school, you will attend same church, or club because your father was member of it. You have limited choices about what you will do about your own life. If you are lucky, you choose your own wife or husband. You probably will do same work that your father used to do, such as soldiers will have soldier son, farmers will have farmers family. You continue their life after where they left almost. Or more like you repeat their life, maybe in better conditions but same style of life. You are the member of family, you born, you produce kids then you die.
This closed life cycle is similar most of the traditional ‘small town mind set’ societies. You do not go far ahead with that life style. Traditional society sets the barrier too high to break for freedom, your individualism.
On the other hand modern societies focus so much on individualism. You are the center of universe. Everything is about you. Surely you can be anything you want, you are free. You do not have to belong to your family. After 18 you are on your own. Do whatever you want about yourself.
Modernity opens the doors of possibilities. You can reach your goals much quicker than you can image.
Modernism offers you endless of possibilities. It also gives tremendous burden of responsibilities for your own choices. You are no longer under the hood of protection of your family, clan, friends whomever you believe you are connected to.
If you make a mistake, you pay for it. Not your father, not your cousin, nor your friends. They will not help you even they want to do. In modern world, you clean up your own mess. If you are successful, it is your success, if you are failure it is your failure. So responsibility is much heavier than you think.
In modern society your sense of belongings changes too. It is no longer all about family. You feel more connected to your city, your football club, your university, your company that you work for it, your gym that you go every Thursday, your small church you visit some Sundays. If you do not like that church, you are free to choose other one. If that club does not meet your expectations, you became member of different one. You do not like your city? Change it over a night even. Nothing stops you.
If you are seeking more specific connection, there are plenty choices for that too. You can be member of Shriners or ELKS, you can join MS (Multiple sclerosis) groups. If you like running, there are runners clubs, pick any interest group you want. Some you pay to be member, some you just join voluntarily. There are a lot of groups looking for new members.
The interesting part is even though there are so many organizations, clubs, AA groups are welcoming to people, still people suffer from loneliness, lack of belongings.
You see too many obese, too many shopaholics, too many drug addictions, too many fanatics in the society. Especially in big cities you ran into many people have shrinks, some go to priest or both. Loneliness is becoming more and more problematic. People do not trust to each other. They would have three locks on the door, they would not talk to their neighbors, would not bother to visit any ‘so called friends’, once a year visiting family.
No wonder they need somebody to talk to openly. Pay to shrink, or open your heart to your bar tender. It is confidential anyway, no harm can come from it.
Modern life offers spectacular individualism, glowing and untouchable. Everything just for you. Buy a car, buy this brand cell phone, eat this can of food, go tho swimming pool in your back garden.
Everything is about how much you can have your privacy, highlighted so well package of a delusional self centric world.
No wonder young divorce rate is high, people prefer friendship at online chat rooms, facebook, or twitter rather than real world.
A very basic human feeling of loneliness grabs you. You are own your own. But at the cost of feeling lost. What I see more and more people suffer from emotional problems. Families are broken, your friendships are superficial. You can have money, power, status, stuff, but your basic need, just to feel connected to others are left out in this picture.
Is there a way to close this gap? Even if you are not in the mainstream can you find a way to connect others sincerely? Can you develop good friendships?
A true friends who supports you, go dinner with you, cooks for you, share your laughter as well as your cry. Even you live in different cities, even you have not seen your friend last 5 years, still when you met him continue your conversation wherever you left. You know in your heart, he will be there whenever you need him. Then that you can call this a true friendship.
I did not know by choosing my freedom I had to sacrifice my sense of belonging. Can I find ‘a new way’ to be connected. Or will that a conversation on the phone like this:
“Hi” He said.
“Hi” I said.
“What you are doing” he asked.
“I am working” I said.
“What about you?” I asked.
“I am working too”
“OK, good night then” he said.
“Bye” I said.
It took less than 30 second.
That’s all I have.
A lost brother. A lost city. I have plenty work to do. I can buy anything I want. I can go anywhere I want. I am free.
I have no friends, no family, no mom. No attachments to anything.
I am almost happy what I have, the most that I value ‘my freedom’.
What I did not know that, I signed up for loneliness.