A friend and I often tell each other about our frequent existential crises and turning points of faith and belief. During one of these conversations I asked him "Why the hell do you still go to church, then?" He replied "It's the only way I know how to make new friends."
Which is a pretty shitty indictment for our current society.
My mental health hinges on community. Proper community. Meeting real people at real physical venues and doing something more than drinking beer.
Recently I've found little communities all over the place. I mean, if church works for you, sure, but if not, maybe you'll find some inspiration here.
- I've been doing some 3d printing and laser cutting (yup, the laser cutting is exactly as fun as it sounds) of synth modules and camera parts at a local "Hackspace",a kind of shared co-op working space with all the fun things that you might want to make prototypes and small runs, but might not have the cash for. It's full-to-the-brim of creative people fixing, soldering, drilling, cutting, sewing, programming and generally not only sharing their ideas and skills, but also their enthusiasm. It's just beautiful and really encouraging to go along and see people's projects develop, and it definitely inspires me to get my arse into gear and step up my maker game.
- Want to know a secret? ShhhhhhhhI'mnotthatintofolkmusicShhhhhh... Now don't tell my band, Captain Cat and the Sailors that! I mean, I enjoy a bit of of a jig as much as the next post-celtic brit, but I'd much rather be in a club with a DJ. Being in a band, though, is the closest thing to family I've ever experienced. For a band to work, it takes trust, commitment, and just enough friction to make things interesting. Plus, everywhere we play we meet new people, have new conversations, and hear other amazing artists.
- I'm a massive geek. I love gaming, be it on a tabletop or an xbox, but playing a single-player game after the kids are in bed for a few hours just leaves me feeling empty and unfulfilled. Pop down a game shop, though, and you can meet new people in a way that gets rid of the social awkwardness because YOU'RE ALL FOLLOWING THE SAME RULES. Literally. The difficulty I've found with game shops is that often the most-played games aren't great games, they're just commercially successful, but that's not the point! Sure, it'd be nicer if everyone shared my taste in games, but I'm not just there to play (and win!) I'm there to meet people, have a chat, unwind in the company of other humans.