There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t met yet – William Butler Yeats
I suppose you would call me a “social” person. I enjoy connecting with people and don’t find it difficult. Early on in my life, I loved parties, nightclubs and large groups. Mid-twenties, I definitely felt a shift and became to shy away from the very things that I had previously been attracted to. On reflection, I guess that age and becoming a mother was in direct congruence to my dislike for bright lights, late nights and bustling crowds. Motherhood only brings a new appreciation for resting in your flannelette pyjamas on the couch with a good movie and a block of chocolate.
Time has gone on and I am now a mother to an 11 year old. He is growing in his independence. He is naturally craving more time away from me and carving out his own little life. As he grows, I find that I have more time on my hands. Looking around I have realized that I have some room in my life to expand my world and flesh out the little nooks and crevices with new aspects. As much as I love being a Mum, I am so excited about having this time to “Return to Claire”.
I have a wonderful group of friends and acquaintances in my world. A hodge podge of eclectic souls that come from very different worlds. I have friends from school days that bring back memories of high school crushes, dancing to TLC, passion pop filled nights and midrift-baring tops. Friends from work that understand the challenges and joys of working with people in recovery from addiction. They understand that dark humour and sardonic wit is a necessary companion in the work that we do. I have friends that I have met through 12 step meetings , that have a similar lived experience to mine. And friends that I have met through past hobbies like outdoor boot camps and gym.
My oldest friends are the ones that I don’t speak to for months; but when we do, we talk for hours non-stop, with still so much left unsaid. New friendships that are just blossoming, where we are just getting to know each other; dancing around each other with elegant awkwardness-delighting in new found similarities and joys. Acquaintances that are potential besties at the seedling stage. Time and effort is the water that makes them grow. And strangers that are friends that I haven’t met yet.
With all of these reflections in mind, I decided to expand my horizons. But instead of trying to join up with my friends in their idea of fun; I made the decision to go out on my own. The first step was to decide what I liked, without fear or favour. Not judging my interests or assessing whether I “should” be interested in it. But rather, to simply accept and embrace the things that resonate with me.
One of my passions is reading. Not a very glamourous or sexy hobby; but an interest that brings me so much joy. What I would love to have is a group of people that I can share my intense feelings that are born out of my attachment to story’s and their characters. Because I have a confession…. I cry in books. When a book I love reaches its end, I experience a grief and loss that mirrors a breakup. A post literary depression. An emptiness that must be filled by finding another novel to fill the hole!
So what to do… but find a book club! Googling meetup I searched for a book club in my area. 3 book clubs came up: 2 established and one newly emerging club. I chose the new club and booked my Mum in for babysitting.
The day of the book club arrived, accompanied with light showers. Unsure if anyone would attend, I arrived at the meeting spot to find a motley crew of women heading off down a park. A young girl motioned me to follow the women, indicating they were going to the coffee shop as it was the only dry spot. What followed, was a wonderful morning spent with 13 other book lovers. From all walks of life we all shared one commonality: the love of literacy! No one else felt that it was all strange that I enjoyed the smell of books or that I read my favourite books at least ten times!
We have decided that we would like to be exposed to different genres of literacy, to be challenged and inspired. I can’t wait to have my horizons expanded and my ideas challenged. I can’t wait for next month’s catch up!