So many friends … so little community
I’ve been living in Berkeley and Oakland for over 20 years. I have many friends here from different stages in life. I have friends from college, work, graduate school, friends through my spouse, friends through my kids’ various schools through the years, friends from various interests and hobbies that I have, and friends through my volunteer work. Despite having all these friends, I feel like I have very little community here.
I grew up in a different part of the country which always had a solid sense of community. People were always available to help with a house project, spend a whole weekend day hanging around grilling by the pool, or to get together on a weekday evening to hash out a problem. There was time to get into deep conversations and make real connections - both for adults and kids. There was always someone around to watch a kid or a pet - no strings attached. Even people you just met would do this kind of thing. The older I get, the more I miss this - and the more I desperately need it.
Has anyone here has success developing a real sense of community here? Do you have friends who are available without booking weeks in advance? People who will spend a relaxing weekend day with you and get into deep conversations about relationships and heavy topics? Someone who will watch your kids or come help out with a household project with no strings attached. If so, how did you build that community here?
I have done all of the above things for many friends here over the years. It doesn’t feel like a burden to me - it’s how I was raised. It’s a gift to help others when they need it. But I’ve learned that this mindset doesn’t seem to exist as much here. And I really miss it. Any thoughts on how to find it?