Shame we think of people as being on the fringe. In this sense, it means on the outside.
So much about life is perspective. If we feel excluded by a desired group or club, it will generate negative emotions. I’ve been there and felt them.
If I could boil my life experiences into a single lesson to share with teens, it would deal with this issue of where and how to belong.
So here’s my advice: Find what you like to do. Find nice people who do that, too. And let go of the rest.
If it sounds simple or trite, I apologize. I do know there are intense emotions and difficult situations that complicate our lives. And I had plenty of insecurities in my youth. But as an adult, I don’t stress much about social circles. Sadly, others still do. The it crowds just get older. They select based on income, neighborhood, career status, etc. Let them.
I prefer to surround myself with people I like and respect. People who make me happy.
Besides my family, I have two passions: writing and tennis. I belong to a critique group, whose members are cherished friends. I’ve met some truly wonderful people via SCBWI-Iowa (our own Jan Blazanin, for example). And I play on a USTA tennis team with some lovely women.
I also don’t force myself (socially) into other people’s definition of a good time. For example, I generally don’t like big parties or social scenes. I’d prefer dinner with a few good friends to a room full of strangers.
Granted, my interests have changed as I’ve matured, but the lesson is the same. Find your thing. Find like-minded souls. And enjoy an experience without measuring it against what others are up to.
Will other people always get you? Probably not. Will some try to make you aware of an exclusion ? Possibly. But do we really want to spend time with such people anyway? Because there is no shortage of terrific people out there. Find them. Reward them with your company.
And remember that bit about perspective. We’re never on the outside of our own experiences. So just make them something you like. With good people.
Now on pillows I don’t mind a little fringe.
And were you to ask my 17-year-old son, it’s a fantastic TV show.
Go with those varieties, I say.