Way back in October I had a couple posts, Society's Pull and Collectively Speaking, in which I hemmed and hawwed about social responsibility and the benefit of having a support system.
Earlier today, I was feeling really cranky about the tai chi group's social pull (a meeting request and a request for me to help out with a second class both came today). I don't like joining groups and never really have until recently. Most of the time, that's because they have, in my opinion, a tendency to ask for too much. I take commitment very seriously, so if I say I'm going to do something, I do it. I'm also vulnerable to requests for help. So by staying out of organized groups, I protect myself from excessive requests. Sounds pretty selfish, eh? Well, here's the thing (and if it's a rationalization then so be it). I like being associated with lots of groups. I remember one weekend where I attended five different events because they were each being given by a different group I participate with. If I were to fully invest in all of these groups equally, would there be time left for something I consider essential to my mental health -- time by myself? I don't think so. Thus, the protective stance I have against intrusive groups.
The tai chi group tends to do it more than others, since they actively encourage altruistic participation. I was once pressured to have a tai chi member who was visiting for a conference stay at my house. I guard my privacy pretty strongly and foresaw hosting duties ahead. I waffled long enough that the issue was dropped, and when the time of the event came around, I had my brother staying with me, so had an excuse. They mean well, but some of them tend to trample personal boundaries.
It was in this attitude of resistance that I went to the tai chi place near my house for the monthly meeting (which I have managed to miss for some reason or other until this time). But I had made a mistake. The meeting isn't until *next* Monday. So instead of pressure from people I know, I participated in a regular class full of unpressuring strangers. It was a very odd sensation at first.
On the way home, I tried to see if there was any meaning for me in the mix up. Finally I thought, "well, maybe it's the Universe telling me that I'm taking this pressure thing way too seriously." So I'm trying to relax, not feel pressured, and get comfortable about setting boundaries. I'm not joining the fracking collective!