It takes a…

OK, so this blogging thing is all kinds of new to me, but I’d like to begin with the idea which has been circling ’round my head enough to start this whole blogging thing.

It takes a village to raise a child.

But what if you don’t have a village? What if you’re a child that’s “done been raised?” Does that mean you’re no longer in need of a village? Or that you should already be firmly installed in “your” village?

It’s so easy when you’re in school to find where you fit in, or perhaps more impactfully, where you don’t, but what about those mid-to-late twenty somethingers, not to mention the newly married, newly divorced, and the newly retired?

How in this world of fast-food, constant commuting, and technologically driven communication does one build or evolve a community?

Am I crazy in thinking that we need interaction to live and grow? And that it’s really difficult to find and maintain??

Now I am in no way a biology or environmental science expert, but I do have some idea tickling the back of my brain that ecosystems are incredibly important to survival. And taken less literally, ecosystems are an excellent metaphor for living versus surviving.

An ecosystem is defined as:
“[A] system in nature contain[ing] living things (including people), their physical environment (land, water, climate) and the life processes that enables the system to sustain itself and evolve.”

Now, let’s get the literal implication over first. We, as a species, seem to have a bizarre need for “bigger and better”, which usually translates to easier and more convenient. Which causes our farmlands and forests (ecosystems!) to be destroyed for suburbs, or “development,” a totally different (and not independently sustainable) kind of ecosystem. Now quite honestly, I’m not so naive to think that my talking about this is going to stop people from making money off of the destruction of beautiful landscapes, and, actually, I’m not so ardent a tree-hugger to start petitions or chain myself to redwoods, but the point does need to be made that “country living” is darn near impossible these days, unless you are independently wealthy, in retirement with a fabulous nest egg, or willing to commute an hour and a half each way.

Now let’s get to the metaphor. The living components (things that aren’t air, or soil, or water) in an ecosystem breakdown in a simplified fashion thus:

Givers/Producers: create food for themselves and others (like plants).

Takers/Eaters: vegetarian or omnivore, people gotta eat.

Cleaners/Decomposers: take all the garbage and turn it into nutrients for the producers to use…

The ciiiircle of life…

So the metaphor goes like this: Everyone knows at least one person who is constantly giving. They’re just that generous. They have that much energy, they get everyone going. They’re motivators. They’re the Givers.

Then you have the people who just take. They use all that energy and good vibes and material gifts that the Givers have provided them, and they use it. They get jobs done, and leave someone else to clean up the crap. They’re the Takers.

Then there are the people who are constantly cleaning up the crap. They manage to turn junk into useful items again. They pick you up and show you how that giant obstacle, is actually a giant opportunity. They help you clean house, and start fresh. They’re the Cleaners.

Now each of us should play each of these roles in different scenarios, different relationships, and different times. Ideally. But there’s probably one that each of us identifies with predominantly. My theory, is that we should surround ourselves with complimentary people – if I’m a Taker, I’m gonna need a Giver and a Cleaner, right? And if I’m stuck constantly Cleaning, I want someone to Give me the motivation to move on to helping others or (gasp!) Taking for myself once in a while.

So what happens when you feel yourself to be a tiny little island?

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