I am an only child. I grew up in a single-parent household, and we traveled more often than not. Friends were few and I saw extended family only a handful of times a year. Although my past was full of solitude, I rarely felt lonely. I've always preferred to keep to myself. All this was just so, until I recently learned about the joys of community.
Here are a few reasons why community is wonderful:
- Encouragement—Sure, you may be able to give yourself a good pep talk, but sometimes you just need someone to lift you up in your darkest moments.
- Perspective—If anything, having others around gives you another outlook. It keeps you on your toes and learning.
- Happiness & fun
- Accountability—It sucks sometimes, but ya just need it, especially when you choose a path less traveled, like living a minimal, low-impact lifestyle.
It's easier than ever to disregard and ignore this need. We hardly ever even have to interact with others these days. You can check yourself out at the grocery store, deposit checks via mobile phone, and order all you need online.
Not only is being a part of a community healthy, it can help you stick with your goals of living a frugal, low-impact life. The importance of community doesn't mean you need to be around people all the time. I still greatly enjoy spending time by myself, just reading or writing or thinking. But I've recently balanced out my introverted tendencies with a healthy dose of community.
Don't even know where to begin? Here are some ways you can take advantage of and become more a part of a community right away.
1. Faith. If you are spiritual or religious, join a group filled with people sharing your beliefs.
2. Work for a purpose. Join a company with a social or environmental mission, like one of the many Certified B Corporations across the country. Like it or not, your co-workers are almost like a second family. Why not spend your days with people all working toward that same cause?
3. Food. Make food. It brings people together. There's nothing like sharing a homemade meal and conversation with awesome people.
4. Know your neighbors, literally.
5. Join an online group or class. Earlier this winter I signed up for The Goodblog Project with Courtney Carver of Be More With Less. Through it I created new friendships that are still going strong today.
6. Volunteer with a like-minded group.
7. Be there. Be the person who your friends can call for anything. Even if it inconveniences you, be there. Not only is this simply nice to do in general, it'll probably open up conversation for you to share ideas and beliefs with each other in depth.
8. Network and go to events. I know it's painful. But networking will help you develop your professional contacts and relationships in a meaningful way—through conversation and real relationships.
9. Cherish your family. The time you put into your relationships will show. Having their support and backing them in return will uplift everyone.
10. Share your goals with others. If you are attempting to save an extra $300 each month, tell someone. Tell them how you plan on doing it, and get their feedback. Ask them to check in with you every few weeks for an update on your progress.
Related articles and blog posts you may find interesting: