Wednesday, August 10, 2011

community organizing

All my life I've wanted a group of friends who all hang out and know each other. That television-inspired fantasy life where I hang out with the people from work every night. Or I go home to a whole apartment building full of amigos. But it's never been like that. I've always had great friends, but very few of them have known each other. Even in college -- my friends knew of each other, but very rarely (outside of that one directing class where just about everyone had slept with just about everyone else in a strange variety of couplings) were friends with each other.

As an actor, I lived the fantasy a bit more than I do now, since the theatre community was much smaller and I knew more of the players. While we weren't all friends, we knew people in common and we came together after work, kind of like they do on tv. People ask me if I miss acting and there are two things I do miss -- the applause and the community.

Over time, I've come to accept Some Day My Group Will Come as a fantasy, and have focused on strengthening the individual friendships that I have. But ever since I left acting, I've really missed belonging to a community. Knowing and caring about people who know and care about each other. Working together with people I enjoy towards a goal that is bigger than just hanging out. Being of service to people who I believe if the tables were turned would be of service to me.

I've done a lot recently to build my community, including reaching out to new women as friends. I'll be honest -- it can be awkward. Here I am, 34 years old, and asking women I've just met (and find awesome) if they'll be my friends. Do they want to get coffee some time? Maybe go to the beach together? I mean, could it be more second grade? I've found, though, that the awesome ones are open. They welcome me and my second grade advances. So there must be a need for community out there.

I've explored a lot of options for community recently. Committees at work. Leading a book group. Even going to church (which, if you know me, you know this means I'm serious). I'm thinking about helping adults learn to read. I'm thinking about getting more involved in alumni events. This idea of community really speaks to me, but I just don't know where to find it.

Short of having children, what do you recommend?

1 comment:

  1. This is a beautiful post, Kate, from a beautiful soul. You've alluded to community being based on something larger than any individual, .i.e., more than the sum of its parts. I wonder if there's a project or an achievement you'd like to see come to life, that you could establish a community around?