“All for one and one for all.” ― Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers
Fraternity. Community. Brethren. Allies. Team. League. Group. Alliance. Tribe. Flock. …
These words – and many more – all describe the same basic premise and the same basic truth: Comfort, and even strength, are often found amongst like-minded individuals.
This isn’t groundbreaking information, of course. Since the beginning of time, people have realized that there’s strength in numbers. They’ve also known that hanging out with people who have similar interests, goals, and situations to your own provides you with a comforting feeling of normalcy.
Ironically, as I’m typing these words, there are 6 doves on my windowsill. (I keep birdseed and black sunflower seeds on the windowsill beside my computer desk. This, combined with bird and squirrel feeders in our yard provide me with endless little cuties to distract me throughout the day. Jury’s still out on whether that’s actually a good thing or a bad thing.) While there are exceptions, generally speaking, doves will show up to dine together. I’ve never had, say, a cardinal and dove show up together.
Birds of a feather, literally, flock together. Even nature knows the strength and safety that comes from community.
As I said in a recent post about Finding Silver Linings, my body has decided that it can no longer tolerate gluten (a protein found in… well… many things) in any way what-so-ev-er. It calls the shots, so I’ve had to change my relationship with food entirely – the way I eat, cook, and even think about food is now completely different from the way I had for my entire life. Suffice to say that “entire” encompasses a healthy number of birthday candles over the years. And, no, I don’t want to think about the bonfire they could combine to build.
Early on in my Gluten Free world, I found a wonderful key to sanity and happiness: Surrounding myself with others who trudging along the gluten free trail.
Moving hundreds of these people into our home seemed extreme, so I simply found other ways to build my own private little support group:
- On Twitter and Pinterest, I searched out Gluten Free Magazines, Gluten Free Food Manufacturers, authors, and website accounts and followed them. Then I looked at different accounts that interacted with them and chose certain ones to follow as well. Soon my Twitter timeline and Pinterest feed were filled with recipes, tips, encouragement, ideas, food reviews, etc.
- I signed up for different e-newsletters from these same experts – now my inbox is also a wealth of information and inspiration.
- There are several Gluten Free magazines I want to subscribe to and I’ve started a cool collection of Gluten Free cookbooks.
Doing all of the above had several benefits:
- I was able to see scads of smiling people who weren’t only living with their dietary limitations but seemed to love it.
- I’ve lost count of the number of great ideas I’ve come across that I would NO WAY have come up with on my own.
- There’s a lot to be said for feeling like you’re part of a community.
- It’s exhausting to always have to check products and recipes for gluten – when I see e-mails, tweets, and pins from these “safe havens,” it takes the guess work out of it and I feel almost normal. Okay, normal for me.
Naturally “gluten free” birds aren’t the only kind of birds available for flocking. Any area of interest, conviction, employment, aspiration, hobbies, dreams, causes, or needs you have can be supported and strengthened by finding like-minded people. Simply replace “gluten free” in the 3 examples above with your own personal subject….
- self help
- sales and marketing
- empty nest syndrome
- weight loss
- paleo diet
- wildlife preservation
- tea reviews
- bird watching
- college tips
- etc. etc. etc…
This is one of those things in life that, while it seems so obvious and even simple,can make a big difference in your life.
Tip: “Hacks” is a GREAT search term (Google or Twitter) to use behind your area of interest – for example “college hacks,” “weight loss hacks,” “saving money hacks,” etc.