I decided a long time ago that the secret to a happy life is finding the right allies.
In some ways, I'm envious of peole who have religion, who can argue that everything happens for a reason, or that there's a plan for them, or that there's at least some underlying force that represents an intention behind the apparent chaos of the universe. For me, it's just chaos: you can do your best to create the right conditions for you to have the life you want, but you're at the mercy of externalities. From the context you happen to randomly have been born into to the health of your family to the opportunities that have been within your grasp, everyone is subject to a different roll of the dice. The universe isn't cruel or kind or wise: it just is.
In the face of this chaos, the only sensible strategy is to work together to try and make the experience of living better for everyone. If we group together, we can mitigate the effects of having been born into poverty, or of having experienced some accident. By helping others, we help ourselves; each of us is inseparable from humanity as a whole. Building community saves lives.
Which isn't to say that we can erase the individual. Communities are made stronger by the diversity of people within them. And the experience of being human is wrapped up in the imperfect emotions, radical creation, and deep-seated needs of individuals. The deepest need of all - this is certainly true for me, but I suspect most of us share this - is love and connection.
Particularly in a world where we're surrounded by voices that ask us to conform to demographic ideals or do what is popular, and societal norms that ask us to take our anxieties and quirks and bury them, loving someone as a complete person is radical enough. But then to voluntarily choose to face the chaos of the world together, having fully accepted each other, is, in turn, a radical act of trust. It's this trust and acceptance that, finally, builds safety and warmth. You can be yourself around these people. You can breathe.
I spend at least a part of every weekend visiting my parents. Not everyone is lucky enough to have this kind of family, but I'm able to be completely myself with them. I feel safe and accepted. I'm watching them grow old, or in my mother's case slowly succumb to terminal illness, and I see their mutual acceptance, and the lengths to which they will go for each other. I wonder how I'm ever going to build anything remotely like this for myself. But I'm lucky to have seen it, and to know it can exist, and to have the motivation to work for it.
This is what I mean by love as allyship. I'm looking for allies, in every aspect of my life. The world is tough, but people are amazing, and the relationships we build are everything.