Friday, May 20, 2011

Fortyness - Finding Community

Fortyness is a time when we need community.

Throughout the other decades in our life, most of us have had some sort of automatic involvement with a community just by the mere fact that we are around people that have a shared interest with us. In our childhood, we had schoolyard and neighborhood friends that were our in-group simply because of our closeness to one another. In our teens, our bus mates, classmates and lunch buddies gave us a sense of belonging. In our twenties, workmates, other playgroup moms and dads, and even our parents (yes, we realized how much they REALLY knew) became our confidants and cohorts as we navigated our way in the world. In our thirties, our children became the axis of our community as we taxied to sports games, school commitments, the school pick up line, and the multitude of kid related activities that dominated our lives and schedules. We had a built in support system - or at least a common ground with groups of others that could in some respect understand what our day to day existence entailed, and often walk the tough roads with us.

Then comes Fortyness....... and it is very different.

Although every decade, and day for that matter, brings change , this one brings some challenge. Our sense of community and belonging takes on a different shape as our roles and connections that are automatic with those roles change. Relationships morph and reshape, along with our attachments. Some that were close become distant. Some that were steady and strong suddenly disappear as the reality of mortality reminds us that we really are destructible. Our children grow and go. Our jobs, mates and tangible belongings that once defined and created a temporary dwelling place for us to have community, no longer are enough. We find ourselves like the one helium balloon that has broken loose - seeing that there is a place for us, but drifting and floating not quite knowing how to find our way back to the bunch.

In Fortyness, we must be bold. We must go out and find community, make community or open a space for someone like us that is feeling the same way - so that they may have community. We can't wait for it to come to us - because it won't. We must be intentional about it, reaching out to and for others. The things and others that have been a part of us have shaped our expectations of commonness. But by opening our eyes, hearts, and mind to all the possibilities of connection with others, we will develop a place of support, connection and fellowship.

In Fortyness, we don't have to be that drifting balloon. We will find community, giving us a safe place to navigate this road in life.

1 comment:

  1. I'm brand new to 40 and my children are still young, so some of what you describe about 30s still applies to me. But I can totally see where it will be that way when my kids get older and the community isn't "built in." And really, community is so important, isn't it? Thanks for a good post - I will keep it in mind as the children grow. :)


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