Tag Archives: community

“Used to daydream in that small town”

6 Sep

I’m going home today.  Home being the small town where I grew up and where my family still lives.  I moved away almost three years ago, and for a while I visited about once every seven months (it just worked out that way), but I haven’t been there in a year.  I’m excited for a visit.

While I’m very glad I left and got out into the world a bit.  (And just a bit — there’s still so much I need to see and do.), I’m also glad I grew up there.  Less than 2,000 people live in my hometown.  I know of one place that has wireless (fortunately it’s one of my favorite places anyway) and cell phone reception will be spotty at best.

In such a small town, it’s easy to feel like you know everyone.  I actually know whom I would have married had I stayed — not due to overwhelming attraction, but because we were close the same age, both reasonably intelligent and attractive, and had a lot of mutual friends, both personally and through various generations of our family.  He left too, but had either of us wanted to stay there wasn’t really anyone else to date.

Small towns like that are stereotyped as narrow-minded.  Some probably are, but mine wasn’t.  Stupidity and laziness would make you a pariah, but working hard and being kind would get nearly anything forgiven.  I’ve always been fat and I’ve never shaved or wore a bra or make-up; you’d think I’d have been an easy target, but instead I was treated like a valued member of the community.  I might have been a bit odd, but I was their oddity and in a lot of ways I still am.

John Mellencamp sums it up nicely:

No I cannot forget where it is that I come from
I cannot forget the people who love me
Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town
And people let me be just what I want to be

I’m going home, and while I have no desire to stay, I’m glad it’s home.

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Destination

29 Jul

I moved to Spokane, WA in May.  After living here for over two months, I feel like I’m settling in my destination.  I’m here so I can go back school while enjoying a low cost of living not available in Tahoe or Seattle, my next destination.  I have clear, measurable goals here and those keep me focused and remind me of why I have upended my life.

Since moving here I only have one job.  Part of the reason I decided to go back to school was because I was overworking myself (70+ hours a week) in my efforts to actually pay bills and ski enough.  I did not ski enough, and while I did pay bills, I still wasn’t able to save anything.  Something needed to change, and I’m glad I have a more normal schedule.  Still, it’s strange to have just one source of income.  Despite the lower cost of living and the higher rate of pay, I still don’t feel secure; I want to diversify my income stream.

And that’s why I’m writing this.  I spend huge amounts of time online and I use the internet for what seems to be a wide variety of things, but is really just one thing: I connect to other people.  I read their ideas, watch as they solve problems, expose myself to different opinions, keep informed about our shared world, and so much more.

I’ve been doing this aimlessly for years, thoroughly enjoying the journey.  That’s not enough though, there needs to be a destination.  I want to create a real community for myself; I want to find my people and offer what I can to our community.  I want to develop real relationships and learn what I can create with the people I meet.  I want to create things that are me, and I want to collaborate.

I don’t think this destination is fully formed, but at least it’s not just an aimless journey anymore.

Let’s just assume I have work to do.

11 Jan
I'm willing to fight my own stupidity.
Image by jamelah via Flickr

Ramit has a great post about testing assumptions. Reading made me pause and consider some of the things I’ve taken for granted without actually examining why I think that way.  It’s all part of rewriting my story.

So, order of the challenge they present, here are the three biggest assumptions holding me back:

  1. My cooking job is not and cannot benefit me.
  2. Building a community will not simply take hard work, it will actually be hard to do.
  3. I will be broke and over-tired for the next few years.

Do I need to tell you these are stupid assumptions and that they are not serving me in any way?  Of course not, but I did need to tell me that.  So, I’m going to take Ramit’s advice and actually do something about it.

  1. I’m going to go into work tomorrow and talk to my boss about how we can make my job into something I look forward to.
  2. I’m going to continue doing the work to develop the community I want, but I’m going to go about it intelligently.  I’m going to try a few different things and pay attention to what gets me the results I want and what isn’t useful.
  3. This one is harder — I believe this deeply, even without reasonable cause.  I think it’s going to help me to make sure I’m routinely putting money aside for my financial goals.  Both seeing that I am able to save money and actually having that money will be quiet the scared little voice spewing this nonsense.  My theme for February is money, so hopefully that will help me quash this baseless assumption.

I feel ambitious and I also feel like I have solid plans and excellent guides, but I need to set up some accountability and monitoring.  I suspect a few of my goals are getting lost in my revolution.

“I’m going to treat you kind”

7 Dec
online_communities
Image by .mw via Flickr

Reverb10: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? (Author: Cali Harris)

I am something of a workaholic, so the community I have the deepest connections to is always my job.  I have two jobs, one as a ski instructor at my favorite place in Tahoe, another as a cook at an ostentatious hotel.

I just went to orientation at the ski area and it was obvious I belong in that community; of course it’s easy to belong somewhere if everyone shares the same passion.  I love skiing, but so does the old, cranky guy, so we have something big in common.  We all have respectable skills, comparable goals, and similar training.  Despite diverse personal lives, I find it effortless to create community with these people.

The restaurant I work in provides me with my other community.  It’s not like ski school, which is a fairly closed, goal-driven community.  Not everyone at the restaurant cooks and most of us are there for a paycheck, not because we can’t imagine being anywhere else.  Our commonalities, if we have them, are found in our personal lives.  All the same, some of my coworkers are coming over tomorrow for Nerd Night, I had a great time going out with some others for a birthday party (and I generally hate going out), and I can’t wait to ski with yet others.  This group of people came together completely by chance, but we’re still a genuine community.

In 2011, I want to spend more time actively creating community.  I tend to passively fall into various groups — I keep showing up for my own purposes until I eventually realize I’m part of something bigger.  I want a community of people who are passionate about doing or creating something, a community that will provide me with more than just social contact.

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