My response to some great questions

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“David” asked some great questions on last nights entry. Click here

I figured I would share my thoughts on these with everyone – keep the questions and comments coming!

I’m wondering, how do you see your neighbors building community and keeping a strong sense of purpose on a daily basis?

The main way that neighbors keep a sense of purpose in the community/neighborhood is by helping each other. There are countless acts throughout the day at every turn. Yesterday at the new resident reception one of my neighbors was complaining that she couldn’t balance her checkbook. Another neighbor said that she had just balanced hers and she would be glad to help her. They met today at 10 a.m. to tackle it together. While I see this type of activitity frequently, I can see that everyone is very respectful of each others privacy and some residents might be to “proud” to accept help from others. There is probably a lot more of this that could be done if residents were more outspoken with each other.

Many of the residents create a sense of purpose through projects and activities. One of my neighbors has done extensive research on his family’s genealogy, and now he is involved with a project of cataloging a CD and DVD collection. He stated that he always needs a project to be involved with.

Sometimes the purpose can be a “job” that benefits the entire community. One resident who has a passion for movies and theatre selects and screens all the weekly movies for movie night. You can see how important the job is to him when he speaks about it.

I have been trying to participate in as many activities as possible, and the staff always engages the residents to assist whenever possible as opposed to simply serving them. Most of the time they don’t have to ask for help, there are 2 or 3 residents that see something needs to be done and they take care of it.

Are you surprised by any of these things?

Maybe a little bit. However I have been in so many communities as a visitor and published so many stories about community residents, I know this exists in most communities. I can’t emphasize enough is how different it is to view this from my new perspective as a resident. I feel a real sense of pride that one of my “team” members is stepping up to the plate to help another. It’s contagious and you can see how it inspires others to do the same.

Also, at the end of Day 2, have you experienced any unexpected surprises about your sense of purpose in your new neighborhood?

Many of my neighbors have shared their frustration with me that they used to be able to “do it all”, but now they can’t “do it all” anymore. I have learned that we need to be flexible and creative in defining our “purpose” throughout our life stages. My sense of purpose last week was primarily my work and family, now I would like to be viewed as a contributing member of this neighborhood. I might be able to draw on skills from my past, but it might be something vastly different.

I see tremendous wisdom and personality in this neighborhood. Every activity and conversation I have participated in usually has some interesting nugget of information or a history lesson from someone who actually was “there”.  I know there is a way to harness this wisdom and share it with my peers and my children’s peers.

I think communities like this one do a great job of promoting intergenerational activities, but I think that if we really think outside the box we can better educate youth and provide my neighbors with an option to have more “purpose”.

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