I had to go to the funeral of my cousin yesterday. It is not the kind of family time any of us look forward to.
On the long drive, my mind visited many subjects.
I knew my cousin all my life. When you are young looking at the family that you are part of, you tend to focus on all of the differences you see or think you see.
In later years, you tend to see all of the similarities. Some things become so obvious that they become shared inside jokes.
Numismatics is like that if you are fortunate.
When you start out, you are looking at what appears to be an undertaking with so many participants and seemingly so many moving parts that you at first feel hopelessly different.
How do you learn all that you need to? With whom should you deal? What should be avoided?
But as time goes on, you see the many similarities among coin collectors and they behave in similar ways right down to the shared experiences and inside jokes.
That is, it happens that way if you let it.
Do you buy the books and periodicals?
Do you attend local coin shows?
Have you joined a club?
Have you found a friend or two to share the longer drives, or to help at his local bourse table?
Do you write, or exhibit or give talks?
There are moments also when numismatic participants rally round someone who has experienced something unfortunate.
In this way, numismatics truly is like a large family scattered across the nation.
Your relationship to it is also like a family. It is whatever you choose it to be.