On Creating Community

Community

Community is something that’s been on my mind lately.

When my husband and I bought a home last year we only looked in one area outside of DC proper, the Del Ray/Old Town area, because we loved that there is a community feel here. A Main Street. Character. It didn’t feel like a no man’s land of suburbia. We are still integrating ourselves in the local community, I’ve met some amazing friends through my work, where I workout, through other people, and people just simply reaching out.

In the DC area, because of the size (Maryland and Northern Virginia are all the “DC Metro” area), and the insane traffic, people are spread out. Unless you live near all of your friends or you all work together, you have to make a real effort to see people. A few months ago I drove an hour on the highway, just to see a friend of mine for a few hours at her home after she put her kids down, and then I drove back home. On a Saturday night. And it was totally worth it.

People get stuck in their daily routines, with their delivered meals they have to cook, and it seems that people are more introverted. Netflix and chill. But actually just chill. Which is good, we all need to chill. But sometimes chilling with friends, and laughing with people, in person, is even better. Face to face. IRL.

This came up at my book club recently too. I was telling my friends that because I moved here as an adult and I have no family here, I feel like I need my friends more than they need me. I can’t just call my parents or my sister to come help me with something. I have to rely on friends for the stuff family helps you with.

One of my friends said she and her husband were feeling down lately, and they felt like it was because they don’t feel like they have a strong community in the area they live in, another piped up and said she was creating a startup for this very reason! I’ll tell you more about that when I can.

We all agreed that we all need to make more of an effort to get together with each other, and with other friends, even if it means going out of our way to do so, even if it’s last minute. I have a lot of friends, I just rarely get to see many of them for something besides an event. I don’t want to be on my deathbed like, oh those were some fun events. I want to be on my deathbed with amazing memories of long dinners, fun experiences, and lots of laughter and happiness. 

Another thing about people my age is that we grew up without having a cell phone by the age of 10. I got my first at 16 but it wasn’t a smart phone and was extremely limited on minutes. We only called people in emergencies and to set up where we were meeting in person. Not like phones today that keep you overly connected in ways that negatively affect you.

When I get together with friends, none of us have our phones out. And if we do, we rarely pick them up and look at them. You might feel like you’re connected to your friends because of your phone, but are you? Have you actually talked to them at length lately? Do you know what’s really going on in their life or did you just see the one photo they posted on Instagram from their vacation. The trick is just actually getting together in person, talking, and experiencing life together.

So what am I saying? I’m really just writing about my feelings, and what I’ve been thinking about lately, and to encourage you to make an effort to see some friends you haven’t spent quality time with in a while. Even if it’s out of the way. 

Have any of you been feeling this way or have thoughts about community? Online communities are great and all, but I think we are missing out on the ones in real life.

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Photo by Ben Duchac on Unsplash