Monday, July 25, 2011

On Community

For as long as I can remember, I have loved people.

For as long as I can remember, I have been one of those people who is happiest around others.

My primary "love language" has always been Quality Time.  When I have spent good quality time with those that I love, my love tank is overflowing; and when I have long stretches of spending time alone, I don't do as well.

I remember, as a teen, filling out one of those online surveys.  "What is your greatest fear?"  At the time, the answer was "Being Alone."  Not alone for reasonable amounts of time, I certainly need alone time as much as the next person, but rather being alone permanently.

Thankfully, for the most part, my life is filled with quality time.  With my children.  With my parents and (some of) my siblings, thanks to our close proximity.  And up to recently, with my husband and also my friends.

My husband's new schedule has thrown this off a bit.  The two of us see one another every day, its true, but we never have time together without the children.  This has been a hard adjustment for me in particular.  The new schedule has impacted my other relationships as well.  I used to have an evening every week that I would spend with my closest friends.  This has been harder to swing recently.  Even time on the phone with my girl friends has been limited.  When my husband is home during the day, I don't feel as free to talk.  In some ways, I feel like no matter who I am speaking with, it is at the expense of someone else.

All of this has required me to have a look at how I balance my life.  I need to rearrange the puzzle pieces of my time and be sure that it is being used in the best possible way.  My particular personality makes this extra hard as I try and fit in all the people that mean so much to me.

I am someone who thrives on community, on time spent with others.  This includes my "mommy friends" who I love to talk with and relate to on our common goals in mothering.  This is why blogging and spending time on facebook can pose a difficult problem for me.  I can get too busy with my online communities and neglect that which I really ought to be doing.  Balance is truly key.

Our communities help shape who we are, the things we do, the goals we have for ourselves.  Creating a great community is one of those priceless investments in life.  When we surround ourselves with people who lift, inspire, encourage and challenge us, something beautiful happens:  we grow.

How do you invest in the communities in your life?  How do you balance quality time with friends when family life is so busy?

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  1. Balancing time is such an issue for all of us americans, I think. My husband is home this summer since he is a teacher and it has been a big shift for us. He has more time with the baby and I have more time to do projects and classes and teach and gig, but there are always so many aspects and so much balance. Thanks for writing!

  2. Such a great post! This same subject has rattled around in my brain lately as well. Wondering how pioneer women did it out in the wild with no neighbors... Talk about the simple life! Thanks for writing your heart.

  3. While Eric was living in Il for 6 months before we finally moved it was very isolating. No time to knit, blog, quilt, be alone with my own thoughts let alone be alone with my husband who I would see for 24 hours a week--before that he was a work 14 hours a day and weekends for several years. I (we) have needed to adjust our expectations fo what we want with what we have available. Sometimes we would eat in the dining room and have the kids eat in the kitchen just so we could have a hope of having a conversation. I'm not sure what I would do if I had a night out by myself or finished a knitting project in the same year that I started it. Be thankful for all the options that you have available to you--and I don't mean that in a mean way or snotty--you have a wonderful support system and that should be something that you cherish. I really wish that my Mom were here to see my kids or have my kids go with the Eric's parents for a weekend. Our options are extremely limited and we still try and make each day magical for the kids and each other. I love the honesty in your writing.


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