Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Gift of Community

Just before we moved here, my husband’s boss back in Alberta told him that his sister-in-law had recently moved to a city South of where we are now and that she was depressed and lonely as she didn’t know anyone there.

We felt confident that our experience would be different as we wouldn’t have to work so hard to develop a social network out here, but would instead, be moving right into one. And I am ecstatic to say that we presumed correctly.

Anytime to you live so closely to other people there are challenges. There are weeks that make you wish you had more space from your neighbours and friends. But, I now see that Community is very much a reflection of me. When I am depressed and feel isolated, I withdraw and isolate myself. And when I am happy and outgoing, people seem to be that way too.

Sure, there are times when I put myself out there and feel little acceptance or encouragement. But there are times when I  organize something and it leaves me feeling a lot happier and the whole community feels friendlier.

My Ping Pong tourney was quite successful. We amassed a fair amount of  participants and reawakened a love for the activity in many of the residents here. I tried to go out and play a bit today and the table was always occupied!

And there are times when I am sick and someone comes by with some soup. Or when someone has a bumper crop of tomatoes and comes to share some with me. Or a friend brought by a bunch of bananas because she had gotten a good deal on them.

I have been working on a little secret project for our Christmas Pot Luck meal. Being pleased with it, I went down the hall to share it with my co-conspirator. She wasn’t home (or didn’t hear me knock) so I went a few doors down for a visit with a  friend instead. We both talked about how wonderful this place is. About how the atrium helps us feel like we are getting “out.” Even without having to put shoes on. And the comfort in knowing your neighbours.

And I appreciate the workout room that keeps that giant home gym out of my living space. And that my husband’s tools are in the wood shop. So, if he wants to build something, he has a nice, cozy, contained place to do it.

There is also the freecycle which has been really great for parents who use it as a means for “swapping” clothes. Just as it snowed here I realized I couldn’t find Anna’s mittens. And later that afternoon? I checked the freecycle and found blue mittens just her size. It saved me having to go and buy her some.

The yard is fantastic here. And people love to garden here in the summer. The kids love the covered atrium when it is rainy, snowy or just plain cold. And the conversation lounge is great for a cozy movie night or a conversation and some wine with a friend.

It’s amazing how much love comes back when you start putting it out there.
Community…I heart you.


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