Hello and happy Monday friends! As most of you know, Mondays are always rough for me but I am trying, week by week, to change my attitude and learn to love the most hated day of the week. I don’t want to waste a whole day out of every week of my life grumbling and grouchy. I want to think of Mondays as a new beginning and a chance to start the week off on the right foot.
This month I am doing my best to incorporate the principles of Thanksgiving into my daily routine. (Even if the story of the Native Americans and the Pilgrims coming together to share a feast is a complete lie). I am working on being thankful for what I have, showing gratitude, and this week, connecting with, and appreciating, my community. These days a lot of people have lost their sense of community. The world has gotten so big people no longer settle into one place or one job. People come and go from our lives and we make little effort to keep in touch. This week I want to get a better sense of who and what my community is and what they mean to me.
I was taken by the power that savoring a simple cup of coffee can have to connect people and create community.
– Howard Schultz
I spend most of my day at my job so my first sense of community comes from my coworkers. Many of us have worked here for a long time, between five and nine. There is a small group of us that have been hanging out for years. Members come and go but there is a core group that keeps it all together. I consider them to be my good friends. They make me laugh, they help me when I need it, and we share stories and thoughts on current events, philosophy, our childhoods, our families, and our hopes and dreams. They are definitely my community.
There are a ton of other people who work here and while they might not be my friends we are still a “team”. This is especially evident this time of year and throughout the winter. I work on a school bus so you can imagine that snowy days are a little worrisome for us. The weather here is predicted to turn ugly within the next few hours. By tomorrow we might have somewhere between eight and twelve inches of snow on the ground. The district rarely calls a snow day so we will all be here doing our best to keep each other, and our kids, safe.
My family is obviously my community, my first community. We’ve all grown up and moved on but we still feel a connection no matter what happens or how long we’ve gone without seeing each other. It’s been awhile since I have seen my family, some members longer than others, and I miss them when it’s been too long. Life gets in the way and I never feel like I as much time to give as I want.
This coming year one of my goals, in addition to seeing my parents and all my brothers and sisters more often, is to see as many members of my extended family as I can. I want to see the cousins I grew up with. I want to see my grandmother who tells everyone I’m her favorite. I want to see my Godmother, who was one of the few stable adults in my life growing up. I want to get to know them better and let them know that I do care for all of them, even if I forget to show it. I want to strengthen this community that I have neglected my whole adult life.
For too long in this society, we have celebrated unrestrained individualism over common community.
– Joe Biden
One community I want to work on too is my neighborhood. When most people think community they think of where they live but how many of us really take time to know our neighbors? How many of us feel like the people who live in our city, or town, or on our street, or our block, are our community? So few ever reach out to their neighbors or give back to the city they live in. I admit I never have.
I like my neighbors. They are quiet, they leave me alone, and, for the most part, they are willing to help me out when I need it. I borrow tools from the guy across the street and our dogs play together. The guy that lived next door moved out but the new guy and his wife seem very nice. They have introduced themselves and they wave when we come and go. My other neighbors are a little crazy but they are fun to talk to when I get the chance. They are all nice and I feel bad because a lot of the time I want them to just leave me alone.
It’s not because I don’t like them or anything, it’s actually mostly out of shame. My house needs more work than any of theirs and I feel like they must hate me, or are at least judging me very harshly. In the summer I see them all outside together drinking and joking and sometimes and I wish I could go out there and be a part of it. I’m sure I could but I am shy and I feel bad about my house and so I stay inside. This year I want to start getting to know them, and when I get the house fixed up I want to invite them all over.
I want to build up a small community on my street. We could all help and look out for each other. We could have little barbeques and parties and what not and of course my friends and family would be there too because, eventually, I want to bring all my separate little communities together :)
What is important is family, friends, giving back to your community and finding meaning in life.
– Adrian Grenier