My town’s 70,000 residents may not qualify us as the smallest. However, we hold the record as the densest town I’ve lived in. I’m not calling my neighbors names; close to 11,000 people live in each square mile. Why, then, am I surprised so many people here know my name?
Recently, after hardly seeing people besides where I met them, suddenly the degrees of separation between my acquaintances all but disappeared! The number of overlapping circles of friends unsettled me at first. My usual habits formed a few life-long friendships, rather than large collections of great friends. I comfortably resided anonymously in any community. After earning the honorable badge of “My Child’s Mom,” getting recognized by more people was unavoidable – even if they’re all kids. I comforted myself upon realizing that my family established roots – something we missed.
I now appreciate seeing similar faces at various extra-curricular events around town. I dig that while the kids enjoy their activities, sometimes the parents head to the local watering hole where everybody knows our names and how to serve one quick round and get us back in time for pick up. I’ve found the best networking happens spontaneously on the schoolyard or store parking lots.
Today, I experienced glowing examples of community support. During coffee with a friend who shared her latest exciting business venture, she gifted me by offering her similar experiences and sentiments toward life experiences and as a bonus, when I told her about my latest passion she immediately introduced me to two more established women for guidance. She also invited me to a support group for business moms for another strong network to back it up. Later, at another kids’ activity, I chatted with another parent and when mentioning my goals, he quickly told me of his friend who already exists at a level I am still researching. He offered to ask my questions and gather information on upcoming conferences.
Bottom line, staying within the walls of our own lives happens so easily, especially when going through life transitions when you feel every moment should focus on “fixing” things. Make the effort to step outside your walls to see who calls your name.