Who is in your community? To whom do you each out to when you want fun, support, sympathy….
A good friend just spent a long, difficult week with her family. Her overwhelming feeling was that, despite their history, her family was neither her support network nor her friend/fun network. And as her kids have gotten a little older and a little more independent, she has been considering where these ‘communities’ exist for her.
A few thoughts we shared as we discussed this:
- We decided that, while it is very important to feel a sense of community. Having people around us that a stimulating, loving, fun and with whom we can share kinship is incredibly important. More important than I ever would have realized when I was very young.
- It is equally important to define you community carefully. As young parents, it is easy to allow your community to simply become the people in your neighbourhood, fellow parents and extended family. They may not be a community that you have a lot of affinity with, but its easy. As you attain a little independence from your kids it is, I think, important to decide who you want in your community. A great deal of your support and enjoyment emanates from these individuals.
- It is tough. Finding a group (or multiple groups) of people that you like, find interesting and can carve out the time to get to know and then see regularly is tough.
After speaking with her, it caused me to reflect on my own community. I have a lot of friends, but I think I have fallen into some classic traps. As a preface, I don’t want to sound overly negative…. I love my friends and feel lucky to have them. Yet, I feel many/most of my current community are the easy ones that come naturally from a busy family life in an affluent liberal neighbourhood. Our friends are fellow parents and neighbours. They are nice, interesting, civically minded individuals. And half the time I really enjoy their company. We have great discussions on politics, education, world affairs, social issues. But we rarely discuss sex, pop culture, adventure. I miss this in my life.
Time to expand my community.