I used to hate the term “networking.” I still do in some sense, but when I think about what it does mean, I’m not opposed to it. In essence, it’s about building a community of people who you can call upon if you need something, but also that you are prepared to help these same people when they need something, too.
I’ve always had a community, my family, which is pretty darn big. I’m lucky in the fact that they are all people who I can go to for anything, and I will be there for them. I have friends, too, but my threshold for nonsense is lower with those who are not blood related, so there are some people I’ve cut out of my life when things got bad. I may be right, I may be wrong, but it has happened.
In the past I thought it was enough to have my family and friends, but now I’ve found myself connecting to other communities around me. Some of it is because I am more open to reaching out to others around me, but I’ve also sought out people to whom I know I could commit my time and energy because it makes sense for my life.
Now I’ve got the people I train capoeira with, my co-workers at a job that I love (never thought I’d say that!), and a new set of friends that I’ve made because of shared interests (writing, art, etc.). I have all these new circles revolving around me, and I am part of others’ circles. I feel better because of it.
To point out the obvious, “com” means “with.” “Community”, “commit” and “communicate” all have “com” at the root of each word. And that’s where I am going with this–wanting to explore my life with others, sharing, and being there for them as they are for me. Seeing what doors these relationships open in my life, and taking pride and pleasure in how I can change or make things better for them, and having my life enriched by it all, the discussions, the turmoils, the fun. Some selfish, yes, but I do want to be good to others, too.
Despite the fact that I don’t go with this quote word for word, this bit of wisdom from John Donne‘s about how “no man is an island” overall makes sense for me:
“All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated…As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness….No man is an island, entire of itself…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
Even if I am not a person with a legend that will live on for generations, my daily actions will affect others, and theirs affect me. Why not take advantage of this and make the best of these connections while I am alive?
Am I cheesy? Perhaps, but I love my communities.