I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. Recuperating after the madness of Christmas isn’t the best time for me to force myself to change. Instead, much like Chris Guillebeau, I do an evaluation of what worked over the past year and what didn’t so I can then make informed decisions about the future. But, unlike Chris, I don’t really do goals any more — I had too many unrealized goals, “failures”, and things go sideway. Instead, I set out intentions. How that intention manifests is something I leave out.
One of these intentions for the next while is to develop a stronger sense of community.
I’ve lived in the same city for over 25 years, however, my local community is still quite small. Most of my friends live outside the city, province, or country.
I’ve been in my current job for three years, however, thanks to the pandemic and working from home, I still don’t know too many people there.
I’m an introvert who savours deep 1-on-1 conversations; however, the majority of the population wants surficial small talk and large gatherings.
I’m estranged from my family because I won’t back down on my boundaries (read: I’m no longer willing to sacrifice myself for their needs) and tend to call out the bullshit.
Side Story: as my dad aged, I watched as one by one each of his friends died. I watched him get lonelier and lonelier. Depression seeped in too. When my dad passed away in 2018, he didn’t really have any friends. He lived alone. He depended on me and my sister for everything, including his social interaction. And I saw how this lack of community was a detriment to his mental and physical health.
Research: happiness has been found to positively correlate to longevity and a higher quality of life. Those people who have good relationships (read: a sense of community) live longer, better lives.
See here (Harvard), here (NatGeo), and here (NIH).
I’ve lived in several different cities in a couple different countries and had to develop a community a few times. It wasn’t easy. Yet I know how important it is and how it adversely impacts a person when they don’t have one.
One of my biggest challenges is finding people like me. People who want to hunker down and dive deep into life. I’m not talking about bungie jumping off every bridge in the world. I’m talking about how the sunlight filtering through the trees just so brings back memories and tears and things I haven’t felt in decades. People who are sensitive to their surroundings and their own inner workings.
Finding people like me is difficult. We don’t get out much and, when we do, we don’t parade around or announce ourselves.
As I look toward my long-term future, I can see how easily I could fall into my dad’s shoes. I really don’t want that. So I’m aiming to start working on developing a stronger community now. I want to have a community both locally and one that spans the globe. I want to be able to rely on my community for advice, insights, laughter, and holding space. My community will relish deep, rich conversation and isn’t afraid to talk about stuff other parts of our society lock into closets or whisper about. My community will provide acceptance and support while non-judgementally asking each other to grow and expand.
While I love my current community, I need a bit more. I need to build a more robust community that can withstand some hardships of life, and that is tailored to more to providing what we each need. I need a community that supports who I truly am, and which can accept what I can provide.
Do you have a community you love?
Are you looking to change or expand your community?
What do you envision your life to be when you are 70?
If you have similar feelings about community, feel free to reach out. How have you developed a sense of community? What are you challenges? What do you need from a community? What are your intentions for the upcoming year?
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