Where you find community doesn’t matter in the slightest, as long as when you’re there, you feel you belong.
Longing to Belong
For as long as I can remember, I’ve craved the feeling of being part of a community. When I was young I recognized it from afar among my friends who were part of the sports teams, youth groups, or other extracurricular activities that I was not. I longed for what it seemed as though they had – to belong within a group of people.
Years later, I eventually did find that sense of community I’d so badly wanted in my younger years – among musicians with whom I performed regularly, among other creative entrepreneurs in my city, and even among fellow dog owners out on walks in my neighborhood.
But in the past six months, I’ve found community in an entirely new place: my local pool. But let me back up a bit…
Pathway to the Pool
As some of you know, I’ve been an on-and-off chronic pain sufferer for many years. For me, one of the primary challenges of navigating chronic pain has been finding a way to stay active that doesn’t make my pain worse. As a result, for the past few years, exercise in my life has been virtually nonexistent.
Fast-forward to six months ago when I got the idea to start attending water aerobics classes. I’d always heard that water exercise was the best thing for injuries because it’s so low-impact and I’d also heard that the gym near my house had an amazing pool. And as it turns out, both are true.
(I’ll take this moment to mention that while some of what you may have heard about water aerobics is true i.e. yes, I am typically the youngest person there, some other things may not be true i.e. it can be a truly excellent workout! But I digress…)
Finding Community in the Water
When I first started attending the morning water aerobics classes, I was clearly the “new girl” in the pool. But as the days and weeks went by, I found I was making small talk with the other (older) ladies around me. About what, it didn’t matter – how cold the water was on any given day, the weather, the traffic, or even where we’d ordered our swimsuits.
Before I knew it, I realized that simply by showing up for these morning classes day in and day out, I now felt in community! It was (and is) a wonderful thing. It just feels good.
What is “Community”? Why Do We Need It?
Google defines Community as “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” Well said, Google.
And it’s no secret that inherent to our existence as human beings is the need to be seen and understood – to belong. “Finding people who share our experiences, values, and interests is what reminds us of our worth and that we’re not alone. Being a part of a community provides us with this much-needed feeling of belonging.” (Community Led Growth).
So yeah, if you call yourself a human, having some kind of community in your life is important. Why? Because it fulfills a basic human need – but more importantly – because it makes us happy.
Questions For You
Where do you experience community? A mom’s group? Your synagogue or church? A bowling league? A book group? Your local pool? 😉 Where you find community doesn’t matter in the slightest, as long as when you’re there, you feel you belong.
Do you have enough community in your life, or could you use more? Only you can answer this question. Just know that if you need more community in your life, it is absolutely out there and waiting for you. All you have to do is go find it! 🙂