I Miss Having a Tribe

There is no specific definition for a tribe because each tribe is unique in some way. They generally may be a group of related individuals, but one tribe may have a different purpose or different practices than another.

As a child, my tribe was my extended Polish family. In high school, my tribe was my group of close friends. In college, my tribe was my sorority. In the job I held for more than 20 years, my tribe was comprised of the women in my office. Also, as an adult, I was a part of two socially active tribes: a group of five women kindred spirits, and a larger ballroom dance community.  In each case, creativity was valued and nurtured.

According to Psychology Today, joining a group and finding our “tribe” can improve our happiness and emotional resilience.

1. Belonging to a group and feeling identified with those in that group is an important aspect of our identity and sense of self. In fact, having a strong sense of group identity can actually help buffer us when we feel wronged or attacked…..

2. Our group identity often gives us a sense of common purpose around the pursuit of common goals..

3. We are not only more likely to get support from people within our “tribe,” but we are likely to experience their support as more valuable and more meaningful. This happens because we believe fellow “tribe members” are more likely to truly “get” how we feel so their support and validation resonates on a deeper level than support offered by those who are not members of our “tribe.”

For various reasons, I have been unable to find my tribe, mostly because: I am not a morning person, I don’t drive at night, I do not subscribe to any specific political party, I am limited physically by the effects of arthritis, and I moved to a town that has limited creative opportunities.

What I really miss is being in the company of women who are kindred spirits.

For a time pre-Covid, when I organized an afternoon writing group of elders, I was able to generate a sense of community for myself. After six years, the pandemic and other circumstances brought an end to that tribe. I do not have the energy to try to start another writing group.

I have tried some activities at the senior center that were not scheduled for the early morning, but I just didn’t “click” with the offerings or the people. I could not get over the feeling of being an outsider.

I fear that it’s just too late in my life to find the wherewithall to create another tribe, and I can’t seem to find an existing one that matches my values, interests, and needs.

Mostly, I really miss being part of a group of female kindred spirits.


4 thoughts on “I Miss Having a Tribe

  1. I sure hear you. I haven’t yet found my tribe here, although in time, the Congo church may fill that want. And I’ve got more female friends than male friends, scattered across the country. I’ve looked for Buddhist groups here, which in the past have been a great tribe for me, but they are either closed, female-only, or … .

  2. I so get this! Yes, I absolutely recognize the power and need of tribe. When I retired I mourned the loss of that tribe. Have been able to slither in to a gardening tribe and recognized that I have a Taiji tribe, albeit pretty nebulous and amorphous. And yes, indeed, you created tribe with the writing group as well. Not sure about developing a tribe as much as working into one, serendipitously. Senior centers do not speak to me. Your time swings away from tribal elders as so many are asleep early on. However, you have a strong, strong, powerful romantic relationship that just about any person of any age would envy,

  3. We have a great group of retired school teachers. We call ourselves The Ladies Who Lunch because were were never able to have time for lunch when teaching in a very large, inner city high school. Now we meet once a month, from just a couple of us all the way to all 9 of us, at various locally owned restaurants where we sit and gab for a few hours over really delicious food.

    • I envy you. I used to be part of a group of women who had dinner together once a month, met at one of the houses another time during the month, and every summer went on vacations together. But I moved 150 miles away, so all of that is gone.

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