“I grew up transient, with change as my constant. I lived a privileged life in many ways, and benefited from a plethora of experiences denied many of my more settled peers. In fact, I felt competent to handle most of what my spinning world threw my way. It was when the world stopped spinning that I got dizzy.” Dr. Rachel Cason
I resonate with Rachel’s words, because her experience mirrors mine.
I’ve lived on the East Coast, the West Coast and the Mid-West.
I’ve lived in the Middle-East, the Far East and Mexico.
My nomadic life began before I was old enough to decide and continued when it was my turn to choose. I developed coping skills for transition, not for rootedness.
And now, my world has stopped spinning.
I have unexplained confusion in my life. This is why I write. To untangle it.
One thing I’ve come to believe to my core is the critical importance of community for emotional health.
Maybe for the nomad it looks different. Maybe for the nomad it becomes more challenging to find people who understand you.
There’s two different ways to incorporate healthy community into your life: find it and create it.
Two essential elements that both require initiative. In general, they are not going to fall in our laps.
What are some tips for finding community?
Looking for community can be hard. You can feel uncomfortable, awkward, on unfamiliar ground. It might take time to build relationships and bridges. You might feel like people don’t really “get” you.
Trust takes time to develop. New communities don’t look like old communities.
Contribute. Participate. Even when it’s awkward and uncomfortable.
Accept the limitations and imperfections of new communities.
Take advantage of reunions with old communities, but don’t compare. Every community has it’s own personality and timeline.
How about creating community?
We start creating community when we meet someone for coffee or dinner, when we invite them over and even when we bump into them by chance at the store and stop to catch up. Those are the seeds.
But, it can grow to form a group. It could become a party, a retreat, a tradition. It could develop a purpose and a mission. When we start to do life with other people, we create community.
Community is built on individual relationships. Brick by brick. One by one. So strong communities are built on the foundation of strong relationships.
Friends that will help you when you are in trouble, when you need help.
Friends who will listen. Friends who will accept you for who you are, warts and all. Friends who are faithful.
These are the elements for building community.
It doesn’t hurt to have two or three tribes. It’s probably necessary to have overlapping community.
With the internet, it’s easier than ever to find your people, but maybe harder than ever to establish and maintain real relationships.
What truths have you discovered while finding or creating community?