I moved to San Francisco 9 months ago. I had a great life in Seattle, rich with good people. I had family. I had community.
Yet I left willingly. I left to know a new part of the country. I left for opportunity. I left because I’ve sensed from a young age that I would live here. I left because I have always been a California girl at heart.
I’ve arrived. So of course I am happy to be here. Of course I love it. Of course San Francisco charms the hell out of me.
It’s always worth it, but it’s not always easy. Usually the effects are subtle. An undercurrent of something unsettling, whether it be the logistical nightmare of moving states and building a new infrastructure, the exorbitant cost of living, or the distinct feeling of uprootedness. Though I’ve made lifelong friendships here in these short months, though I’ve co-founded a community to support mothers who make art, I’m still knitting the web of connections. My community is a work in progress.
What is community to you? Is it seeing people you know on the street? Is it making small talk? Is it comprised of those who know the most important things about you, no matter how far away? Or is it formed by repetition, the people you see day-in and day-out? Is it formed by default? Do we choose community or does community choose us?
San Francisco is a small city comprised of neighborhoods that function like microcosms. After a few short weeks here, I started running into people I’d already met. It happens often. At the grocery store or on the street or at the park. In less than a month, my little girl will start kindergarten and the double doors to a new faction will swing open.
Yet a community made by default is different than a community created with conscious intentions. So I’ve started asking myself what I want.
I want a community that reflects my values. A community where we can celebrate our unique talents by sharing them, where we welcome everybody and we learn from each other, where we support one another in making healthy choices, where cooperation trumps competition and everyone understands that the rising tide lifts all boats. A community that thinks creatively and practices non-judgment. A community that loves art and craves culture. A community that lifts its members up.
Writing this down enlivens me because I know I’m already well on my way. Slowly, surely. Because communities are never formed overnight. Luckily, we have our whole lives.
What is community to you?
This is day 26 of 30 consecutive days of blogging. I’m glad you’re along for the ride. If you liked this post, please share using the buttons below. If you have something to add, feel free to comment openly or anonymously.