My friend is amazing, she comes up with the absolute best ideas and I often volunteer to help because her ideas are so amazing!
She is an extrovert, I am an introvert who also craves community….just not too much community, and not too often.
This summer her fabulous idea was “Summer Supper & Swim Club” (she comes up with the clever names too). I jumped right in and we established this weekly gathering of moms and kids.
Why would I jump right in – being an introvert and all?
Despite my introvertedness and tendency to be a home body I also CRAVE local community.
Also for my two younger girls – who are middle and high school age and of course want time with friends. Assuming we would have a fluctuating turnout and end up with a smallish group each week, I pressed forward with the event plan. My friend and I came up with the invitees and…
Surprisingly to us we have a huge, consistent turn out every week and the moms look forward to it just as much as the kids do! We average between 20-30 people total each week.
There are a few interesting things about all this and here they are:
What is all this telling me?
Other moms and kids are also craving community. Real community, not based on participation in churches, groups, activities.
I know those are places you meet people initially but for me – friendships or community solely based on “membership” or “participation” in groups or organizations just do not last. Most of the time they are shallow and without any roots – again - just won’t last.
I know there are seasons of life but I also know a real community of people remains a community – with or without participation in groups, events or activities.
Earlier I referred to craving “local community” because many of us I believe have a network of friends that we have made, for me it’s my college friends and a scant 2-3 others from other seasons of life, who really are my community no matter how far apart we are geographically, no matter how long we go without talking, these are my people in good times and bad.
The community I am craving in my everyday life is just that “everyday life community” in my local area.
Sadly, until now, I have never experienced this in real life, I have seen it from a distance, seen it on TV, read about it in books but never experienced it in action, in my life.
For example I know many churches and multi-level marketing people throw the term “do life together” around – what I see is that means sitting in chairs on Sunday morning, going to ladies meetings, church events, marketing meetings or business events together. Possibly having dinners, baby showers or birthday parties with this group of people that you also go to church with, business events etc.
What that also seems to mean is when you no longer go to that particular church or you are no longer building that particular business then “doing life together” is over.
One of the beautiful things about our “Summer, Supper & Swim Club” is we obviously all met somehow, probably through participation in the same activity, church, class or group but our relationships have continued to stay connected.
One of my favorite things about this is it is a picture of my community – outside of anything other than life. It has reminded me, I actually do have a community.
How do I handle this as an introvert?
Its once a week! As long as I have my days or hours at home to recharge I am good to go.
What if I don’t have my recharging hours?
I am still pushing myself out of my comfort zone and going. Participating. Talking. Connecting. It isn’t always easy for me but it is important for myself and my girls. I want them to build and enjoy a community of friends. In order to do that showing up is important.
I want to teach my girls that showing up doesn’t have to dominate your life so prioritize it!
As moms how do we do this without it interrupting our entire day with prep work?
Our Summer, Supper & Swim Club is a total of 3 hours and we do pack it up after those three hours. We also keep it simple, it is NOT a Pinterest worthy spread. But it works.
That is part of the beauty of it - not a lot of prep, low stress, no one is trying to impress anyone, we just gather.
We have some working moms and kids who have to get up early the next morning so we gather from 4-7pm. 3 hours is enough time to gather, connect, share a meal, clean up and look forward to the next time.
What about you? Do you crave local community?
I want to encourage you to start something! Grab a friend and start “showing up” not just at baby showers, birthday parties and soccer practice (although showing up at those events is important too). Purpose to invite those inside and out of your current activities.
You probably have more of a community than you think you do. It may surprise you – it sure did surprise me!
Hi! i'm Heidi,
Founder and Author of the SOS Blog. Simply Our Society exists for poetry lovers, book lovers, parents, midlife women and those recovering from eating disorders and hidden abuse. My hope is the SOSblog will become a resource to make life a little better and easier (with a special emphasis on this crazy season called midlife!).