IN SEARCH OF COMMUNITY
The last time I had a close community of women was college. I had a safe place to come home to at the end of each day to bare my soul and build relationships with exciting and challenging women. It was a place where stressors could be unwound over conversation on a comfortable couch, where effort or being "on" didn't come into the equation, and where full vulnerability was met with the same.
After college, I did what felt natural... I left my comfort zone to find something new. This felt natural because I had done it before. I did it when I left home to go to college. I did it when I left to study abroad. I had a track record of venturing out, stuggling initially, finding my community, and then thriving. So, with high hopes, I moved to a new city where I didn't know anyone. I was excited about the unknown and ready to build a new community.
As you do, I got settled into my new apartment. Living alone for the first time was great and freeing and luxurious. I had a fun job and was surrounded by new people who introduced me to more people. There was a plethora of people but finding lasting connections was proving more difficult.
Months later I started dating my husband, a man who had magically found a way to move through life with his community. This core group of friends is something I have never seen before. They are more like siblings than friends. I was in awe and also jealous.
I wanted a community of friends. I was craving authenticity and connection. Friends in close proximity who were ready to do vulnerability.
Enter every article every blogger has ever written about making friends as an adult:
- I Forgot How to Make Friends
- 10 Do's and Don't for Making Friends in a New Place
- 7 Ways to Make New Friends as an Adult
- How to Find Friends in a New City
- Making Friends in a New City
The list could go on forever.
So I started my blog (one of the repeated recommendations in the affore mentioned articles). I blogged to find people and to find creative expression and it worked. I had the joy of meeting Kelly, the creator of A Side of Sweet. She welcomed me into her life and into this widespread network of bloggers in San Francisco. There were endless reasons to get together and to pursue creative endeavors together. I was thrilled to find connection and inspiration.
More chapters of life have since set in, including another move. We've moved to my husband's hometown. A place where we can start a business, we can afford a house, and we can be close to family. This is also a place where his community has serious roots and where mine is back to zero.
Even with almost a year and a half under my belt here, I'm still in this exhausting effort of trying to build a foundation with women who have deep history with each other. The women I have access to are amazing, but they already have their community. I can't fault them in any way for defaulting to their comfort zone. It's what I would do. More often than not though, I feel like the desperate girl on a first or second date who is grasping for connection and waiting for the effort to be returned.
When do I get to just be? When do I get past the "dating" of friends in a new city and move into having authentic friendships at home? The kind where you spend a week night on the couch watching Friends, eating Thin Mints, and talking about everything. When does that happen?
Until that time, long-distance friendships it is. The rare amounts of time I get to experience them face to face help center me on their importance. I'm hoping that they can continue to sustain me until I find a community in real life to help bare the load.
But just so you know, I'm ready for you, day-to-day community. Wherever you are, I'm ready.
Do you have deeply rooted frienships in close proximity in your life? Did you have to make new friends in a new place? How did you do it??