Living in New York, the big city where one can access anything with the snap of a finger, can also be quite lonely. Many are here putting all their energy into living a dream, figuring out who they are, or hiding from something. Add to that technology, which has created an “I can access you 24/7,” people are busy – with email, jobs, family, video games, etc.. Dropping by to check on your neighbor is a rarity. Planning your schedule 3 months in advance is more common.
After two years in this wonderful yet big city, I am determined to create a community. I have had this on my mind for years – proven by all the business and self help books (e.g., Keeping the Books, Anatomy of a Business Plan, The Power of New, Why Women Mean Business) highlighted and earmarked on my bookshelves. Oh yes! I read those in 2004! Seven years later, here I am, still craving a community and having done little about it. The tipping point for taking action was a conversation with my father-in-law after Christmas dinner who reminded me that I have the power to choose to be happy and the life I want to live. There was something in the way he said it that made me determined to live the life I always wanted NOW, not “one day.”
I started small because I was nervous and felt overwhelmed with where to begin. Create a community? Me? Why would anyone do this? I picked the second Tuesday of January 2011 and sent random emails to a few friends asking if they wanted to get together for dinner. Apropos, that dinner happens to be tonight, the same day I decided to start this blog. Six girls. Just dinner.
Once I set the date for this dinner, the community started to come to me. Over the holidays, my sister-in-law purchased several magazines while we stayed in Marco Island with our respective husbands’ parents. I came across a great book that was perfect for the scared, uncertain, and sad mood I was in – The Happiness Project. The author, Gretchen Rubin, decided to take a year of her life to determine if and how one can be well, happy. She still keeps a blog and has information you can download to start your own “Happiness Project.” I downloaded the book to my Kindle right away and found useful tips. I am taking my time with the book so that I don’t overwhelm myself with tips.
Hello book clubs! My friend, Kathy, who lives in Boston, sent me an email about a book sharing site, Good Reads (www.goodreads.com), where you can invite friends who can each share books they are reading/have read along with comments about these books. Then, Jocelyn invited my to her book club. And Danielle, who lives in NJ, and I agreed to a “conference call book club.” OK. Now you see the problem I tend to get into. Something starts small and then explodes. So now I have to choose a book club….or read a lot!
Later, I came across another fantastic group while researching organizations for my non-profit (I am a fundraiser). It is called Dining for Women (www.diningforwomen.org), where the mission is to “change the world one dinner at a time.” Women get together once per month, bringing potluck and the money they would have normally spent on dinner. The group talks, eats, and decides what non-profit to give the money to. Talk about community! Check out the website for a chapter near you. Or start your own! I can’t wait to meet the women in the New York chapter.
Lastly, I have been craving to use my hands. I found baking for the holidays a joy, but needed something more. I decided to look up pottery classes in the city and found several. Based on location, price and dates, I chose Chambers Pottery (www.chamberspottery.com). The first class was last night, and I must admit, it felt great to get my hands (and clothes) dirty and know that every move I made with my body impacted whether that clay stood tall or toppled over. In my case, it was often the latter!
You may think, “Um! Slow down, girl.” My response, “Let me try these out. Who knows what will stick?”
I look forward to sharing with you how this community for women begins to unfold. If you have community-building ideas for women, please share.