I’ve never been an “inner circle” kinda guy.
You know how every group of people that’s bigger than 4 people has layers to it, where there’s an essential inner core, an important, but less influential second layer, and then there’s the floaty, peripheral circle of people who float in and out.
The last layer can be full of great people who add value every now and then, and add flavour to the group, but they aren’t essential.
It’s like the solar system. There’s the Sun, which has most of the mass of the solar system in a focused point, the planets (which are very important) that rotate around it and have some influence, and then there’s the comets, which fly past and are beautiful and interesting...but only for a moment.
This trend in my life started pretty much right away. I was a late arrival in the family, with much older siblings and cousins who were well into their teens (and some were adults with their own kids), so much of the things that happen in the families that create bonds already happened.
I went to a school that was full of kids that were from a different economic and racial background to me, so there was an immediate barrier to the inner circle for most groups.
Plus, I’ve always been a bit...odd.
Anxiety, social and otherwise, made me a weird kid. So I had friends throughout school, but was never able to do the things required to be influential in a group.
That experience led me to generally seeking out people and groups who were fairly different to me. And even when I wasn’t seeking it out, I was always, somehow, slightly different to everyone else in the group. For instance, I’m a dad parenting blogger in a country where the vast majority are moms, and while most of the more popular, influential members of the community are renowned for photography and text content, I’m out here usually making videos and podcasts.
So, kinda the same, but juuuuuust different enough to be noticeable.
Eventually I realised that there can be real joy to being in the periphery - your life ends up with a beautiful variety of people in it, and you never really feel any pressure to maintain the status quo of the group.
Recently, I realised that in one aspect of my life none of this really applied. It probably was the quarantine that made me realise this, but I am in one Inner Circle. It’s the one that includes these nutters:
It really is something special to be the perpetual outsider who has finally found the place where he is on the inside.
Usually, I write these posts to make a bigger point, or to start a conversation, but this isn’t going to be one of those. This is just a feeling that I’ve had for a while, and I wanted to tell you about it.
Wait...maybe there is a small point here. Maybe the point is that, as parents our job is to make a safe space where our children know that no matter what, they belong, and maybe in the process of doing all that...we just end up making a place for ourselves too.