There are so many great ways to describe “community”.
Community could literally be the four square blocks around your home made up of people that share your same Zip Code (or Postal Code if you’re in Canada). And that community could be comprised 100% of people that you don’t know, never mind could rely on in a time of struggle or need.
Another community is your friends. Those that are there when you have good news to share, a complaint to sort through, or somewhere in-between based on the year, the day or let’s be honest, the boss that is making your current job miserable.
Sometimes communities form out of other communities – the group that gets together over a special event, a sport, a book club or perhaps something less common like, let’s say, a psychic reading, where you find some commonalities that make you feel connected.
I think a goal should be to have as many communities as you can in your life – for all kinds of situations and events. I think a variety helps to provide perspective and an outside view which you might not have otherwise been able to see. Dare I say that actually hanging around the same community, all of the time, is not as healthy and certainly does not offer much by way of diversity.
Sometimes it is awesome to bring your one or two community groups together – because like I said, it offers diversity and a change of perspective. But sometimes I think it’s perfectly Ok to keep them somewhat separate if the tastes and talents are not aligned.
Recently I’ve had one community that I’ve re-developed and I am so excited to have the people reintroduced into my life. That community for me is my running community. The group of gals that for the most part meet me at 8am on a Saturday morning, endure my crazy stories while climbing hills and running through the woods (and I endure theirs), and then finish with a cup of coffee before we head out on our own merry way only to see each other again in exactly seven days — at the approximate same time, in the approximate same location, and to essentially repeat the same thing. But guess what. We ALL love it. We all come back. Even if we didn’t quite like the stories. Even if the hills were not nice to us and made us walk funny for days. Even if we felt outside of our comfort zone and pushing limits beyond our personal beliefs.
Now some might say, “Yeah but it’s about the running. You enjoy it because it’s about the running. It’s exercise so it doesn’t matter. Right?” Actually I’d say wrong, and my response would be that the running is actually second behind the community that comprises it.
Regardless what community you have or how it was built, or for what reason it exists … if it’s something that feeds you and lifts you up – I say it’s something you should be thankful for and remember is there for you when the world seems a little upside down. Or right side up! Celebrate with your community as much as you rely on it for support.
Thank you to the community around me. Not the apartment complex where I live where my direct neighbor won’t even say hello to me as we pass in the hallway. But the community that joins together to discuss a book that we all committed to reading (just because someone suggested it was a good idea). Or the friend that is outside my gym at 6am with a smile on her face and enthusiasm beyond my understanding to spend the next hour with me. And the family that I know, no matter what, is the best community that I will ever have.
If you’re stuck and can’t determine how or where to build your community, follow this one rule: Find people that make you not want to look at your phone. That’s a good starting point.