Archive for March 2011
While I think about this somewhat regularly, I’ve been thinking a lot recently about community, and friendship, and especially about sharing.
I realised awhile back that in some of my efforts to live a low-impact, low-energy, low-cost life, there are times when my friends loan me things, or do things for me, that get to be difficult to do on my own. Because I don’t have a car, sometimes I need rides to or from places, especially at night when the buses don’t run a lot. Since I’ve chosen not to have a cell phone, sometimes I need to borrow one if we’re out and about.
Realistically, I know there are things that they get from me in return. I spend a lot of time listening to people’s problems, and I offer advice. I cook and bake for people. I watch pets, water plants, collect mail, and return library books. I’ve read and edited an awful lot of papers and grant applications. On paper, these don’t feel like big things, and yet I know they matter to the people who they help. But sometimes, even though I do think I probably give back as much as I receive, I’m just so very, very grateful for the people in my life who help me out every now and again with the things that it gets to be difficult to do on my own.
I’d like to do more, though, and I see the world in its present state, and all of the things that need dealing with, I think we need these connections with other people more than ever. So I’m going to make a concerted effort to not only be a better friend, but to be a better friend to more people. I want to share more of what I have, especially in terms of time and energy, with those who could use it. I’d like to spend more time building community, and finding ways to connect with people, and fostering the sharing that I think we so desperately need.
But community and help goes both ways. It’s important for people to feel useful and needed. And so I’m also going to try to be better about asking for help when I need it, which is something that I am not always so good at. There’s lots I could use help with, though – everything from gardening advice to reading my papers as I work through them.
This could take awhile to work up to. I’m rather shy, and a homebody, and because of these things I sometimes find building community takes a lot of effort and time. But I think it’s worth it, and I’m looking forward to getting out there more. I’ve had an awful lot of good in my life, and I’d like to give some of that back.