How do you define community?
Is it the people who live near you?
Is it the people with whom you work?
Maybe it’s your network of friends or family.
Is your community set in stone, or could it evolve?
Many of us establish a social network around work, or even our alma mater, and have a hard time branching out beyond that. It doesn’t matter if we’re social creatures; it’s simply hard to make friends as an adult. We don’t all just end up in a sandbox together and become instantly inseparable.
While your workplace and the street you live on offer obvious opportunities to build social networks, those aren’t your only options. That’s a relief for those of us who don’t work in an office or need to maintain professional boundaries at work. It’s also a relief for those of us who, for whatever reason, haven’t bonded with the people who live next door.
In previous generations, social and recreational clubs were commonplace, and many people came together to share activities, conversations, meals, and drinks. These communities were built partially on common interests and qualities, and partially on geographic proximity. As social and recreational clubs largely faded out of the scene during the 20th century, we lost this incredibly valuable opportunity for community building.
Making friends might be easier as children, but it never stops being important. When we relocate to a new place, or find ourselves in a new or challenging place in our lives (caring for children, caring for aging parents, caring for a spouse, changing jobs, starting over), or even if everything is the same and we want something to be new and different, forming new social connections is priceless.
Fortunately, social and recreational clubs aren’t totally extinct. Is your community out there, waiting for you? There’s only one way to find out.