I recently read a book written by Sebastian Junger called Tribe. No this book isn’t about the Cleveland Indians fan base. It’s about Americans getting farther and farther away from human interaction with one another. It goes on to explain how when humans have to band together and cooperate with each other during crisis it enriches our lives. On his website SebastianJunger.com describes the book by the following, “We have a strong instinct to belong to small groups defined by clear purpose and understanding–“tribes.” This tribal connection has been largely lost in modern society, but regaining it may be the key to our psychological survival.”
Our small groups are the ones that really know who we are. They are the people who will drop you off or pick you up at the airport at some ungodly hour. They are the ones you call for their opinion when you are making major life changes. They could be your actual family members but that’s not a requirement. Your tribe members could change over time. It’s also quite possible that these friends or family members may not even know they are part of your tribe because sometimes we aren’t good at appreciating them or the impact they have on our lives.
Over the last 4 months I have leaned heavily on my tribe due to many changes taking place in my life. I have reached out to more people in my iPhone than I have called or text in the past 3 years. I left a job after almost ten years to start my baseball blog. I switched many areas of my personal life not realizing that it would cause me to spend most of the last 3 months alone without human collaboration. Working each day by myself and ending my days at home alone. Silence has become my normal routine during the day which is the complete opposite of how it used to be. I used to sit in a busy office with constant phone calls, chatting with co-workers, multiple projects on my desk and some form of music in the background.
It has been incredibly challenging time for me. I am all in or all out sort of person and I went all out really quickly. Leaving my workplace created an identity crisis for me. Not only did I lose my daily routine but I also felt like I lost who I was. Without my job and my role in that job who was I? Add in losing co-workers who were closer to me than most of my family members and it was a lot for me to stomach all at once.
I remember reading a Player’s Tribune article by Andrew McCutchen about when he was traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates after playing his entire professional baseball career in Pittsburgh. Many times throughout the article the phrase “Who Am I?” is repeated. I understand what you were struggling with Cutch. I can relate to the who am I question.
Not all of this change in my life has been negative. I have been able to learn some really valuable lessons. I also think this newer version of me is a better version of who I was.
I realized how important it is to appreciate my tribe
As tough as I think I am, I really need these people they are my secret weapon
Give back to your tribe and pick them up when they need you
My tribe has been there for me this entire journey just to listen, give me advice, shoot me a funny text or grab coffee with me. At 46 years old I know what type of people I want to welcome into my Tribe because I think you can always add a few more quality members. For me it’s surrounding myself with people who want the best for me, folks that genuinely care and know who they are and what they believe in. People with strength, quick wit, positive energy and good sense of humor. It’s a plus if they like to talk baseball but not a requirement.
My tribe makes me smile when I hang up the phone with them or exchange texts. They are the ones who can call my shit out and I’ll still speak to them afterwards. They are the people who I trust with my life. Think about that. Who do you trust with your life? Don’t forget to look around and take stock of your tribe and appreciate all that they have given to you. My tribe is one amazing group of individuals. I am very thankful to have collected them along this journey and to have them in my life.