My Midlife Project

Remodeling a Middle-Aged Mom

Who is My Tribe?

A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”

~ Seth Godin


Last fall I enrolled in an online writing course, created by Jeff Goins, called “Tribe Writers”. It was early November. The course is, theoretically, eight weeks long…

Find a calendar. Go to the beginning of November. Block out the next eight weeks.

What do you see?

For starters, I saw the only time of year my son comes home to visit. I saw a visit to my father who lives 600 miles away. I saw holidays and activities and time with friends and family…

And I ended up getting stuck in the first lesson.

I gave it another try in March of this year, with similar results.

So I began the class again. This week.

And there, in the lesson plan, was the question: Who is my tribe?

We were asked to write our answer to that question and post it for other students to see. Here is what I wrote:

Who is my tribe?

[Looking back, I may have gotten stuck on this question the last two times I began this course.]

Who IS my tribe?

I have a blog. I have started, neglected, relaunched and neglected it again. More than I want to admit. All the while, I’ve hoped to figure out who my tribe might be.

I’m a middle-aged homemaker with an empty nest. I have a degree in Computer Science and a life-long passion for indigent healthcare. I’ve been a runner (everything from mere fitness to competitive, 5Ks to marathons) since 1980. I lift weights and eat healthy. I love to read and travel. I need massive quantities of solitude. I am a survivor of a divorce and a shining example of God’s grace in a redeeming second marriage. I am a Christ-follower who is gifted with compassion and discernment. I live in a mid-sized city in Arkansas where many people think of me as a passionate nonprofit leader and effective grant writer.

Somewhere in all that mess is the making of a tribe… But where?

A couple of years ago, I joined an online community of midlife women writers. I thought (for obvious reasons!) they would be my tribe. After all, I’m a women. I’m middle-aged. I have an empty nest. I assumed it would be a match.

Um… no.

I held on to the apron strings of that group for a while. Waiting. Watching. Hoping.

Then one day I let go.

And now I am here. Still looking for my tribe. Waiting. Watching. Hoping… again.

Through the exercises in this course and with input from some of you, I hope to find my tribe. I know it’s out there. Somewhere. Waiting for me to find it. Watching for me to show up. Hoping for me to lead them.

I just need a compass…

The responses to my post were varied. Interesting, to say the least.

I haven’t replied to them yet… but I will.

One person said it was obvious I was clueless who I am, and if I couldn’t figure that out after three times through the course, I needed help. (I’d like to repeat that I have BEGUN the course three times, NOT gone through it three times. There is a difference!)


That person also pointed out my description was more about me on the outside and not on the inside… Perhaps.

Another person, who checked out my blog, said I was looking for a tribe of midlifers who want to get fit and healthy.

Someone asked why the women in the writing group weren’t my tribe… and suggested if I could articulate the reason it didn’t work, I could discover what WOULD work.

And then there was the person who asked if I really want to lead with/be known as a “middle-aged homemaker”… Since that’s what I began my bio with.

Crazy as it sounds, I think “middle-aged homemaker” is exactly who I am and who I want to be. I want to be the kind and thoughtful neighbor.

“Come in. Sit down. I’ll pour you a cup of coffee, and we’ll chat.”

Perhaps my tribe is made up of people who need a friend. A friend who understands their struggles with health and life and staying the course… and is willing to listen to them and share her heart and pray for them.

Let me know if you think you may be part of my tribe… and we can travel the road together.

About Brenda

Morning person. Introvert. Longtime runner. Erratic sleeper. Fitness junkie. Lifelong learner. Coffee addict. Volunteer. Health/Wellness advocate. Coach. Blogger.

6 Replies

  1. I could have written most of that! I’m also going in circles trying to find my tribe. There’s a video on youtube – find your life purpose in 5 minutes – it sounds stupid but it’s not a bad place to start – it might help you identify where to begin

    Another idea – look around your house – what do you have that speaks to you – what books are your favourite and why – what are they about? Who do you admire – what do you admire about them? What kind of people would you choose to hang out with if you could? Was there ever a time in your life when you felt you had a better grasp on this? What were you doing then? These are all clues to how the puzzle goes together.

    Did you happen to listen in on the tribe call last week about ‘blogging personality types’ – professor, celebrity etc? I’m just curious – what’s your personality?

    1. Thanks for sharing the TED video… It reminded me of an exercise I did several years ago, “Creating Your Mission Statement.” I can’t find what I located at the time, but it was something along the lines of this: My mission is to educate, encourage and inspire others on their paths to better health and wellness.” (That isn’t exactly it, but close.)

      I’ve actually been very good at helping my children find THEIR purpose/mission in life… I think I’m currently at a crossroads for myself, with too many choices. 😉

      Looking around my house, most of my books are about fitness, health, writing, spirituality/Christianity and relationships.

      I listened in on Jeff’s call last week. I think I’m somewhere between a professor and a prophet. Closer to the prophet, since “professor” is my grant-writing personality, and I want to move away from that. Ha! Michael Hyatt has also written about the various “roles”. His were Sage, Sherpa, Struggler. Among those, I think I’m primarily a Struggler…. who wants to grown into a Sherpa! 🙂

      Thanks for your help/guidance with this, JYL… I think I’m getting close. The trick is to not get stuck…. and keep moving forward. And just write.

  2. stevie

    I’m confused! Why do you need a “tribe”? Just be who you are in God…if anything counts, He is your Tribe! Sometimes the path laid out before us in a solitary one…and not many people travel that road. And maybe that’s the answer…you should not be looking for a crowd of people. You admit that you are happy with solitude…so stay there…and write to us! From your solitary friend…. :o)

    1. And perhaps that’s why I have so much trouble with this assignment… because my motivation is different from other people’s. I suspect my tribe, such as it is, is very small… and select… and think differently from the rest of the world… and enjoy solitude. 🙂

  3. Not that I’m an expert or anything (I’m stuck on the same TW lesson. can’t move forward from 1.4) but I spent some time reading through your past posts – to me, overall, it seems that you are speaking about health – healthy body, healthy mind, healthy spirit. I haven’t gotten any sense that that is directed solely at midlife people, your tips and thoughts could apply to anyone, even male or female (although mostly female). I also read your post (and the answers – um, wow) on the Tribe forum.

    Something I did on the weekend for myself was take a look at ALL my “posts” (most of which I haven’t actually posted) to find the underlying theme – I think I have a better sense of what I’m writing now that I’ve looked at the total, rather than just looking at various pieces – when you look back at everything you’ve posted here do you see any commonalities? Anything jump out at you?
    If you were to sit down over a cup of coffee with a total stranger where would the conversation go?

    I’m partly writing this for myself – maybe you’re past this – just thought it might stir some thoughts.
    Take care!

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to help with this… As I mentioned before, I got stuck here (for a variety of reasons) both previous times I began Tribe Writers.

      I believe the “healthy body, healthy mind, healthy spirit” is my direction and focus moving forward. It’s obviously been there all along, but I believe now I have a better idea of how to approach it and what “voice” to use… And you are correct — much of the information isn’t limited to a specific age group. We had a very small gathering over the weekend here at home, and it included ages mid-20s, mid-to-late-30s, mid-40s and upward. The conversations were similar to what I write about. 🙂

      Keep writing…. and I hope I have a chance to read YOUR words very soon!

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