Helen English Artist
There is a lot to be said for community. I think that has become more clear since the events of last year when we in New Zealand, and moreso in other parts of the world, were in lockdown due to Covid. At the time, I enjoyed the freedom from everyday responsibility and felt quite nervous about getting to grips with my old life when life opened back up. That feeling probably stayed with me, a natural if chatty introvert, for most of the ensuing year. A few months into this year though, I began to look for things that would bring me back into the world and realised what I had been missing.
Hanging out for coffee with my usual, very inspirational, artistic compatriot was a really good start and my lifeline of sorts. As I did that, the coffee shops we frequented got used to seeing us and that definitely rebuilt my sense of belonging. Another activity boost was rejoining a bootcamp group which I used to belong to, and seeing people again who I used to hang out with as I ran and exercised like crazy. Looking forward to seeing those faces twice a week made me realise how much I was missing that interaction. Soon I was having coffee with a couple of old bootcamp friends too.
My latest place where I have felt that community vibe has appeared through taking a space at a local permanent market. The stall holders have naturally formed bonds and help each other with the things that they know about or can do better or faster. Together we are stronger than we would be as individuals.
So, back to my original point. I think that It never ceases to amaze me how groups of people can be the glue in each other’s lives. Even if most of us enjoy moments of solitude, sometimes extended moments, we all benefit from building relationships with others to help us to understand the world and be supported by community.