“Oh, those guys are my archenemies…” my son says as we walk across the park.
I squint at the middle schoolers in the climbing structure. “What are their names? Why are they your archenemies?” I asked. I’m curious, not confused. I’ve been at this too long to be bewildered.
“I don’t know their names. I just don’t like them.”
“Hey, Will!” one of them shouts. He sighs, and keeps walking. Middle school, amiright?
Meanwhile, I hear a little girl shouting, “Friend.. friend? where are you, friend? Oh, there you are!” once she finds the best friend that she just met in the park, who is hiding in the fake log by the fake stream.
Surely, there’s middle ground?
When I first started taking my yoga teacher training classes about a year ago, I noted that the director of the school always referred to people who came to classes as community members- never “students” or “clients.” It seemed a little odd at first, but I totally get it now- we are trying to put together a circle of friends, like-minded people who get together not just for a little exercise and breathing, but for community. It feels good, maybe a little guilt-inducing, to go to a yoga class, that is nominally for an hour, then stay another half hour just chit-chatting with people, who if they aren’t yet “friends” are at least fellow “community members.” And they certainly aren’t archenemies.
Community is one of the big things we are lacking, these days. One of the reasons life is tough is because we don’t always feel like there are people who are on our team. We are fighting battles with stress, and we feel like we are all alone. We are working so hard, we barely have time to breathe. My daughter shared a meme with me the other day:
It’s true. We get busy, and don’t find time. We need walking buddies, and yoga communities, and taekwondo moms, and running clubs, and choirs and
wine book clubs, and we need them in real life, not just online.
Speaking of online, I have signed up with Meet-Ups- have you heard of this? It is social network that is fairly localized, with different categories of activities that people can sign up with. I have set up two groups, one for “textile artists” (pretentious, moi?) and one for getting together for yoga. Tons of people (well, around 50) have signed up for each group, and they get emails when I send notifications (let’s get together for coffee and talk about textile art… or, lets get together and do yoga…) and some people RSVP, and then only a small fraction show up in actual real life. Many people are interested in whatever the activity is, but we are all so busy that we can’t figure out how to get out in public and make friends.
What do you think? How do you make time for seeing people in real life? I’m interested in opinions from introverts and extroverts- how much time with people is the right amount? Where have you built your community?