Today is my favourite day of the week because it is Thursday. Thursday is knit night and I get to spend time with a wonderful group of knitters (you know who you are).
This is a time when i can be myself, I feel no pressure to be someone I am not, I am accepted and can generally discuss anything I wish to (or not discuss anything). Spending time with these people and knitting energises me after a long arduous week of work, it can relax my stress. I also get incredibly agitated if work is going to impinge on it in any way.
I have pockets of this in my wider life but do wonder if I should seek out more. At work I am lucky to have 2 pairs of colleagues who provide this human space. Two peers who i share leadership responsibilities with and with whom I have an incredibly frank, often laughter filled, open relationship, managing people can be rewarding but it can also be draining, frustrating and at times painful. The other pair of colleagues are of my era, have similar senses of humour as well as an almost (but not quite) identical set of cultural references. We are often able to respond to the events of the day with shared references and laughter and discuss what next over coffee and lunch. This relationship does extend to creative pursuits outside work as part of the retreat from work-a-day humdrum.
My core circle of friends that has mainly sprung up around a couple I went to university with has pockets of this. Partners, additional acquisitions etc has made larger groups of this more about debate and occassionally finds me more guarded. But in one very small central core of this that sense of sanctuary and ability to say whatever i want and need is there. We do make efforst to maintain this smaller circle for ourselves.
At home my wonderful dh is able to provide me both sanctuary when I am in need of retreat and support (and I to him) and debate when I am in need of a good intelligent exchange of ideas. Our core values are similar so we are not at complete loggerheads but are able to explore disagreements and differences with passion and humour. Occassionally we will also just bicker about stupid things for fun, which drives both our mothers mad but always ends in us laughing ourselves silly.
I think the key is that laughter - all consuming moments of shared humour or absurdity are the recurring theme of all these relationships and are universally present in these interactions. So I will continue to seek out those I can always laugh with.
This gives me the perfect chance to share one of my favourite bands (Weddings Parties Anything) and their song "Island of Humour" the original had Billy Bragg...enjoy.