On Community

1. a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.
2. a locality inhabited by such a group.

We had our first HOA meeting last night. Details aside, I was speaking to a neighbor afterward who said her career is related to building community and she's hoping to see that happen in our building as well. I am not sure what she does specifically, but no matter - I felt kindred to her cause. I've seen it in a lot of neighbors. A free exchange of contact info, Facebook friending and groups have already been established. There's a noticeable openness to the social aspect of living within proximity.

I've been thinking a lot about community lately. The different ways it seeps up into our lives and we utilize it, embrace it, revel in it. The lines blur between friend groups, acquaintances, colleagues, teammates, roommates, neighbors, family and networks.

Our culture stresses independence and self-sufficiency. We are encouraged to leave the confines of "the houses we grew up in" to explore further education; to live independently; to pay our own bills; to be fit and fashionable and strong and beautiful and successful all on our own.

Which is good. Don't get me wrong. I think people need to take responsibility for themselves and their actions. And their own happiness.

But to be able to draw from one's community can be incredibly beneficial. Humans are social by nature and, as unique as we all are from one another - we share common experiences.

I have several examples to reference - including, but not limited to: book clubs, moving/airport runs, financial accountability, fitness and healthy lifestyle choices, home decor and renovation, career advice... but I'll save these for future posts.

Where do you find yourself grateful for community? How do you define community?

1 comment:

  1. I live in a one of a cluster of ten 450 sq. ft. cottages. Our homes are technically a condominium unit, half owner occupied and half renter occupied. We are situated perpendicular to the street. You enter through an iron gate, up a set of stairs beneath a pergola and emerge into a wonderland. We all know each other. We take care of one another's pets. We have dinner together. Tonight, one of my neighbors saw that I was home and knocked on my door to say hi. I've had a truly crappy 24 hours. Her timing was perfect. We commiserated (her week has been no less stressful) and hugged. When I returned home, there was a card on my door from her. Love. Perfect love. Four of us are connected on Facebook. During the snow, we got together at one of the houses and enjoyed a fire and conversation. I have never been happier with my living situation in my adult life.

    So much of our community sensibility is created by the smallness of our homes and the shared responsibility for our common space. We have twice a year work days where we all pitch in and work together on outdoor projects.

    I've lived in intentional communities and I've lived in isolation. One of the things that I adore about my current place is that it's accidental community, created by propitious circumstance rather than deliberation.