Renewed togetherness… yep, this is the concept. I know because we’ve been discussing it for months. But also, I’m literally sitting here asking myself what does a new day of togetherness even look like?!
Thankfully, I’ve been buoyed by some recent experiences that speak to the love, joy and hope of the run community — but more on that in a minute.
The pandemic f-d with our model of human togetherness - and created deep losses. And yet sometimes those losses are hard to define.
First and most importantly, loss was unequal. First responders and frontline workers risked health and lives. Marginalized communities suffered and died at higher rates, as well as those who didn’t have a choice and couldn’t quarantine or work from home.
For those of us who had the means and privilege, there were challenges, but (with the exception of true loss through COVID-19 deaths) we didn’t lose our core folks. We tightened our circles and got into COVID bubbles and soldiered on.
For the far away people, those who we were already used to seeing from a distance, that didn’t change much either. Through the magic of social media and digital news we can still follow and be inspired by the folks we admire. (Both Missy Elliott and Brandi Carlile liked one of my tweets during 2020 jus sayin’).
But then there’s this interesting middle area; the nearby people. These are the folks we’re more loosely connected to, and we tend to see through shared interests.
It’s the run groups, the book clubs, the knitters, sailors, hikers, birders, dancers, origami makers and chess players. It’s the support groups, yoga classes, artist workshops, and the library dwellers. It’s the dinner party where you don’t know everyone, or the new friend someone wants you to meet.
The nearby folks are a kind of magic middle in our human togetherness. And the pandemic completely stomped on and polarized it. Most relationships either become core, as we tightened up — or far away, only visible on screens.
Adam Grant’s recent article There’s a Specific Kind of Joy We’ve Been Missing captured it perfectly. Grant defines this middle space as the concept of Collective Effervescence - or that peaceful easy feeling that comes with being in the company of a loosely associated group of friends or acquaintances.
“Research has found that people laugh five times as often when they’re with others as when they’re alone. Even exchanging pleasantries with a stranger on a train is enough to spark joy. That’s not to say you can’t find delight in watching a show on Netflix. The problem is that bingeing is an individual pastime. Peak happiness lies mostly in collective activity.” — Adam Grant
Run groups. Relay teams. Birder friends. A women’s group or a book club. A cycling squad. For me personally, it’s every Volée meet-up I’ve been to, Big Birdcamp, or the big city marathons.
We lost our magic middle in the last year and a half - and it's time to build it back. But let's not settle for the old us. Let's build back on higher ground.
What the global pandemic and the racial reckoning show us, in the harshest way possible, is that our middle is super weak. And for those who surged to the streets and marched, there was a refusal to stand down. Not just a new day of togetherness, but of solidarity.
Let’s move toward a new day of togetherness that is truly new... that looks different, feels different, and goes deeper.
In 2021 we move through the world a bit grittier, bolder, stronger…together, as a community.
A community that is dedicated to connection.
A community of runners, body movers, walkers, and doers.
A community emerging as a newer version of ourselves.
A version of ourselves that unapologetically lives all our nuances out loud - the joy, the strength, the layers that make us individuals, and the layers that bring us together.
What I know is that I’m changed. As the world comes to terms with new ways of being together during this pandemic with no obvious finish line, I’m feeling the joy of *just starting to create* a new middle (and no, I don’t mean core work, I can’t even go there).
I’m intentionally expanding my circles. Thank you — once again — to the sport of running, for being the best connector in the world. Trying out different run groups. Seeking out new experiences. After all, body movement might be the common thread that brings us together, as our friend Carolyn says, but there’s so much more.
Within our collection, we’ve also spent the last year and a half designing thoughtful apparel and accessories that is powered and empowered by the values of audacity, courage, effort and heart. We live to design for you — and all the athletes, athlete-curious, and lovers of the lifestyle.
Your favorite short, in all its lengths and pocket levels, are also renewed (to be clear, though, the fit is unchanged). In addition to bold colors, you’ll find the signature prints that will define this season’s collection: Botanical, Coco Tiger, and Swan Lake. Dive in… it’s all about those animal instincts.
If there’s a collection I find myself constantly recommending and talking about this summer, it’s Flow. These seamless styles feel like a cloud, with gentle stretch, and the lightest knit available. Run hot? No problem. Want coverage? Outer layer or base. Love color? Rich saturation and duo-tones. Flow is as it sounds… going with your every move.
When I started Oiselle, I wanted the brand to express the joy of freedom and flight. At its best, that’s what the sport gives us… those moments of true presence, of connection to ourselves and others. This season’s Flyte colors are the best yet, with neutrals and beautiful color... and in our expanded size range as well.
Hello, second half of 2021. This is the season of renewal — and rising up. The season of becoming something more; forever changed, but no less hopeful. It’s the time for new relationships, new connections, a new day of togetherness.
As always, I’m honored to fly with you. LFG.