Monday, March 09, 2015

The importance of true peers

I read an article from the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Facebook page this week. It was about the importance of finding peers for your gifted child and adolescent, and how it can be hard for them to find true peers in the traditional school system. There is nothing super-unusual about this article. Miraca Gross has written about it in The Me Behind the Mask and about how important it is for our gifted kids to find "kindred spirits".

This week, I read those articles and I cry. I cry not for my two exceptionally gifted kids, but I cry for me. Because it's not just our kids searching for their tribe; those couple of people who "get you". Kindred spirits. It is gifted adults too.

I spent the weekend with work colleagues on a "reward trip". We are the top performing novice travel consultants who made our targets. They took us away for a weekend of socialising and fun on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Now, usually I can get along with most people and manage to have a pretty good time at these things. I don't mind a drink or two and I can chat to anyone. But I found myself this weekend feeling out of touch. Old. Fat. And with NOTHING in common with these (mostly) twentysomethings. Their topics of conversation mostly involved how smashed they were going to get that night. What tattoo they were going to get the next day. I listened to their music and my head hurt.

Partly it was an age thing. One of them mentioned that she didn't want to get married because once you get married and have kids your life is over. And although I can kind of relate, my first thought was "well, I've f*cked up the last 20 years of my life, then!"

But it was also a kindred spirit thing. Most of these people had no tertiary qualifications. Those that did were in marketing and design. There were decidedly anti-intellectual.

And so, for the first time in about 30 years, I found myself ostracised socially. I was with the group, but not included. People sat with their backs to me. I wasn't included in conversations. And the longer the weekend went on, the more out of place and the less inclined to make an effort socially I felt.

That's me at the back, behind the guy in the red hat. Pretending to have a good time.

And it came to me with a blinding flash of clarity. These people are not my peers. They are most definitely NOT my kindred spirits. I didn't fit in and I most certainly didn't belong. What the hell was I doing there???

I certainly missed my family. My husband annoys me at times, but damn, he's got my back and he GETS ME. I missed my kids. I would have had a MUCH better time if I was spending time with those gorgeous young people.

It is with a huge sense of dread I go back to work tomorrow. It is with a sense of desperation that I am spending most of my public holiday today searching for and applying for jobs that will fulfill me and more importantly, let me work with intelligent people who are into the same things as me (science and education) and who have the same values as me. People who are happy with the "me behind the mask".

Stay tuned for further developments.
Have you got kindred spirits?

Ever felt ostracized?

Still searching for people who you can be your authentic self with?


  1. People don't get me either. Even my old friends of 45 years, all but 1 don't travel and none of them have had kids. I tried making a new set in Far North Queensland, but after 20 years of scientists, professors and Doctors in the hospital world, I just had very little in common with young mums at playgroup. And then we started homeschooling and lost any friends I'd almost made. Luckily I'm quite antisocial and enjoy my own company, so I',m not really bothered. And thank God for Facebook!

  2. I am so with you, Ingi. Last month I did a workshop on over-excitabilities. I spent most of the morning in tears, feeling 'got' for the first time in my life. My daughter's having coaching with the woman who ran the workshop, to help her with the kindred spirits issue.

    I'd rather hang out with the Big Bang Theory geeks than their 'normal' neighbour Penny any day. :-D

    For some reason I only just got an email with a zillion of your blog posts attached - otherwise I'd have commented on this post 6 weeks ago. I'm so pleased things are working out well for your guys at school.

  3. Don't worry, sis, I have been putting up with it all my life (anyway, you probably have a better job now).

    from your 'big' Sis


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