I've been thinking a lot again this past week about friends and community building. I think it's partly something that's been in the back of my mind for a while, and partly that my friend who I mentioned last time's memorial gave me a lot to think about.
She really left us all with some strong and important messages about love and choices and embracing life - especially not letting the past or even present circumstances hold you back. She had also been one of the people who had encouraged me the most to keep writing and talking about friendship and its challenges.
I may not be completely out of the woods health-wise (not by a long shot), but things are better than they were last year, and I'm finding myself really craving more connection with people - in person. As much as it's great having connections online, it doesn't do a lot to help with the isolation of being largely housebound (for me - or because of me, also to an extent, for Bruno).
My physical limitations (namely energy, dietary constraints, and not being able to talk for extended periods and especially not in loud places) have made rebuilding my social circle pretty challenging. We tried to keep up with the social invites last year, but honestly they often weren't reciprocated, and with my health taking a nosedive, we eventually gave up on that to focus on the immediate issues that needed to be dealt with. That said, it's time. I feel like there are people out there who will be cool with meeting me where I'm at, so I don't want to waste anymore time waiting to "get better" which may or may not happen.
Not only am I eager for more connection again for myself, but for Bruno too and sometimes that will be in different ways than me. For example, he got really into snowboarding last year. And in Belgium people go out and meet at pubs a lot more than here, and it's not one of the best activities for me. So I guess we're looking to build different pieces of our community that will fill different needs for both of us together and separately.
Anyway, I know that some people really connected with some of what I was writing about as far as friendships in Vancouver, as an adult, and with various health and life challenges, so I wanted to keep pushing myself to reach out and see what comes of it. I had an interesting chat with an old friend today that touched on the idea of intentional communities. We may not want to move into co-housing, but I think there's some happy medium that we can reach if there are others who are also interested.
What are we looking for? Genuine, kind, and (eventually) consistent people in our lives. I say eventually because of course this doesn't just happen overnight, but we'd at least like the potential to grow into these kinds of relationships. We want a sense of community, people we can hang out with no matter what ups and downs life brings our way. People who will support us, and who we can support when they need it. Interesting, politically engaged, creative, open hearted people... like us! People who want to get to know us for us, where we don't have to worry about making our lives or ourselves seem perfect to fit in.
I hope this is making sense and coming across how I intend it to - it's weird stuff to try and communicate about! If you're looking for more of this in your life and have space for it, live in (or near enough to) East Van, and would be interested in spending some time getting to know us (and probably some other people we know who have similar interests!), I have a little poll below. The answers will be visible to Bruno and I, and you should be okay with other people potentially eventually seeing your email address (like if we email groups of people with invitations). The questions cater to activities that Bruno and I might do together and as individuals, so it's all over the map - we just want to gauge initial interest and whether it's worth putting some dedicated time and energy into this again.
Serious inquiries only! For reals - if you are crazy busy or have a full dance card already, that's okay, don't fill it in just to be nice! I'm considering this an experiment more than anything, but am cautiously optimistic about where it could lead. Often when I put myself out there and feel like I'm potentially embarrassing myself, I get pleasantly surprised... Oh, and ideally one of us knows you already, since this could involve us inviting you to our house. If we (or you and Bruno) are buddies online and haven't met yet, feel free to still fill it out though!
[UPDATE: POLL CLOSED]