Lately I’ve been thinking again about how isolated we all really are in our suburban lifestyles. Building community should be the cornerstone of a happy, healthy, sustainable life but families these days are very insular.
One of the major projects I’m working on at the moment is finding ways to increase my sense of community.
what is community?
There are many different levels of community. Firstly, the personal connections within your own family and friendship circle, then local street/suburb, state, national and global connections.
Living with a chronic illness and a young child has increased my awareness of community. On some levels, I feel more connected since falling ill and then having little A. In other ways, I can see the disconnect even more clearly.
When I got sick I started my blog. My sense of global connection was increased through the online friends I made. We were connected through a common struggle to find meaning in a life with an invisible chronic illness. This community helped me to achieve my goal of publishing a picture book about life with an invisible illness. They helped me make sense of what was going on and I hope I helped them as well.
Since having little A, I’ve struggled to maintain these global connections. As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve struggled to find balance and get online much. However, I’ve made new connections with other mums that I wouldn’t have made without having her.
I’ve also got a wider environment/sustainable living community that I’ve been a part of for many years through work. This community has been great and very supportive. Yet, again, I’ve struggled to maintain connections through my life changes, first my illness then becoming a mum.
Being home I have gotten to know many of my neighbours on a wave hello, maybe go over for a short chat occasionally, basis but I don’t feel a real sense of community there.
How can I find it again?
I’d love to find a real sense of community again. To feel comfortable dropping by and just chatting to any of my neighbours. Comfortable to offer them advice to help them live more sustainably. I’d love a regular (maybe annual) street party where we all get together. The idea of more communal meals, more spontaneous catch ups, more REAL connections with others in my local community.
I need a sense of belonging. A way to feel important and useful, even if now, I’m struggling to balance the different aspects of my life and make any sort of living from what I do. I need to feel like I’m making a difference and I’m helping others to make a difference too. I need to focus on BUILDING COMMUNITY.
In other news…
Life is about to be turned upside down here again as we welcome another child into our lives in October and I work on making my community engagement and education into a financially and socially profitable venture.
I may be a bit sporadic in posting and replying to comments but I am hoping to get back into some sort of routine. I’ve missed my online community!
Do you feel a sense of connection with your own community?
Do you feel the need to change something? To make a difference?