I remember what it felt like when I walked into a new classroom in grade school, after my family moved to a new city. I felt so alone and uncomfortable until I connected with the people in my class, which didn’t take too long. I’ve experienced that same feeling over and over throughout life whenever I’ve been courageous enough to join a class or a new group of any kind.
You’d think we’d learn that the feeling of being alone doesn’t last very long but fear often wields its power to keep us from trying new experiences because fear’s job is to keep us safe and comfortable. Ultimately, I believe we’re all looking to feel connected and we’re at our best when we’re part of a community. Our fear is quickly eased either through conversation or shared activity, just like it was when I was in grade school. Our work then is to ask fear to take a seat while we get on with the business of exploring the amazing opportunity communities have to offer.
Science shows us that human beings are born for connection and we thrive when we’re part of something greater than ourselves. Today, young people often refer to their group of friends as a tribe, borrowing from history and they’re not wrong. We thrive when we’re with our tribe because ultimately community is where we feel valued, seen, heard and appreciated.
Communities have a powerful effect on our wellbeing: emotionally, physically and spiritually; helping us feel socially connected and providing a sense of being part of something meaningful. In our digital world, on-line communities can provide a touch point without us having to be together physically but nothing can replace the relationships we make when we’re together in person.
As human beings, we need familiar threads to tie us together: family is a great example. Although not perfect, a family’s story has commonalities and provides a sense of belonging that we attempt to replicate throughout life. Depending on the stage of our life it could be a social circle, a spiritual group, a workplace family or the community we choose to live in.
Just as our roles in life shift, the importance of connection and community shifts as well. We are meant to continue learning and growing as humans, so as we retire from full time work or become empty nesters, joining a group or community offers focus, engages our imagination and enriches our social skills. How about learning a new language, volunteering, joining a dance or yoga class; perhaps taking martial arts classes?
As we age, our focus should be on enjoying a good quality of life: maximizing friendship, health and happiness. Living well at The Wellings means being part of a community where everyone is encouraged to thrive, where everyone has an opportunity to contribute, where there’s reduced stress, opportunities to make new friends, learn something new and above all feel safe when you’re at home. This tribe is fuelled by the enthusiasm of its members and supported by the staff; I just don’t think you’ll find a better definition of a freedom living community than the lifestyle enjoyed by folks who live at The Wellings.