I'm such a sucker for found family

A terrapin lying on a piece of astroturf in a tub

Fave member of the family

Dear Reader,

Somehow, time has flown by, and this was my last week at Ethos. I’ve inexpressibly loved my time here, and working on these newsletters every week, and I’ve been thinking for a while what to write for my farewell.

There’s a lot of things that scuttled their way into my heart these past six months: pausing by the window to catch our terrapin Pethos in her tub; walking past the dozens of Sin Ming chickens on my way to and from the office; how the sun bathes the rooftop and the rows of potted plants; the shelves of Ethos books; even my laptop, which doesn’t work unless it’s plugged in.

But I think what I’ve come to value most is being surrounded by a group of people that believe in the things that I do, and take on work that expresses those beliefs (that ethos, if you will xx). At our recent Meeting in the Middle, the panellists talked a lot about community—finding it, maintaining it, creating safe spaces. As I’ve grown older and formed more disillusionments about various systems, I’ve increasingly valued pockets in which you trust everyone to be on the same side.

One of my favourite tropes has always been found family. The ragtag crew, the eclectic collection of huffy loners brought together by circumstance or common purpose that learn to trust each other and eventually realise they’ve found their people. I’ve been going back to the idea, especially as new adulthood plods on. School-era friendships of proximity are over, and every relationship becomes a deliberate act of searching, cultivating and sustaining. With how much harder it is to meet new people—or meet up with old people, amidst everyone’s Adult Lives—having those people feels nothing short of having found a treasure against all odds.

Of course, the internet has changed that a little. I’ve found a strong community online; it comprises people I might never meet, and I’m friends with both 18-year-olds (babies) and 32-year-old parents (with babies). I’ve never heard them speak, don’t know how tall they are, and barely know what they look like beyond their profile pictures. But we read the same books, want the same things, have the same fears, care about the same issues. At the end of the day, they’re now often what I return to. There’s a lot to be said about the intimacy of being known, but there’s also the security in being inherently understood. You need people who are willing to listen, but sometimes you also just need people you don’t have to explain anything to.

I hope you find your people, if you haven’t already. I hope your people find you.

Love (and goodbye),
Wen-yi