It’d be challenging to live without canned beets, arduous to compensate for a lack of motorvehicular transportation, and downright preposterous to forego late night collaging sessions. However, it would be absolutely impossible to maintain a vibrant, inspiration-filled life without communities.
I’m still unsure of how I optimally function socially, but now that I’m 21, I can say that I’ve tried out a plethora of systems. I’ve had best friends, groups of best friends, groups of mostly acquaintances, few friends. I feel love from my blood relatives and families that I’ve chosen at camps, through sports, classes at school, temple, all over London, and more.
Now that I’m on my last year of college I’ve begun to understand a big change that few talk about when you transition to life with your parents to without: When you submerge yourself into the college bubble, you oftentimes exclude elders.
By elders, I’m talking about wise, older people who aren’t necessarily old. I mean it in a very respectful way similar to how post-middle-age people are treated in Eastern and Native American cultures. I guess I’m referring to level of knowledge versus chronological age (because we all know the two aren’t always correlated!)
But let’s move on, shall we?
It’s easy to get caught up in everything me and questions about almost everything. Speaking with an elder about those questions or something unrelated like the name of that pretty flower over yonder often calms me down. I adapt to their disposition by unconsciously mimicking it. My physical composure leads my mind into a correlated transition. Life looks different for a second: the world stops spinning around me. I regain perspective. This is critical.
And just because I’m me, let’s also remember that we can’t live without the communities inside of us! We (our bodies) are composed of 90% non-human cells! We are deeply devoted to our little gut microbes in a symbiotic relationship: they break down certain substances for us to digest and in return, we give them a cozy home. That’s just one relationship. When was the last time you thanked your bacilli with a cup of yogurt or kimchi-topped dish? (Especially if you’ve taken an antibiotic recently!)
I think one of the downfalls of the Millennial generation is their lack of interest in participating/volunteering in multigenerational communities. Belonging to these communities quells selfish urges and reminds us that we are obligated to serve others even if there’s no specified requirement. When you expand your worldview beyond your personal bubble, you’re more sensitive to the world’s pleas for help.
Another wonderful thing about being a member of a community is the oft-felt feeling of belonging. It’s good to feel welcomed and wanted 🙂