I met with a Registered Dietitian a few years ago to talk about my eating habits. I was attempting to reset my relationship with food and get advice about incorporating fish back into my strictly vegan diet. After discussing my “gym rat” habits, she asked me to think about being active without ties to creating a deficit by burning oh-so-many calories. Without the self-proclaimed gym rat mandate, I would be…
I told her about falling in love with trailrunning when a short hike turned into a 4-hour exploration run. I told her about checking the distance between friends’ houses to see if I could spend a Saturday running to people (and doing it… for the first 21 miles anyway). Everything I did was rooted in adventure, and if it wasn’t an adventure, I’d find a way to make it one.
She interrupted my nostalgic storytelling, “Audrey, you’ve got to find YOUR PEOPLE!”
Find my people?
I needed to spend less time in the gym and more time finding people with like-minded calls to outlandish adventure. I needed to realign my priorities to find my people and live with them in the moment and soak up the experience. I needed to find my barefoot-trailrunning-bike-touring-river-swimming weirdos. Most of whom do not frequent the gym at four o’clock in the morning.
This push to find my people is as relevant now as it was then. To maintain any sense of momentum as an outdoors and adventure enthusiast; a meditating minimalist and simple-living junkie; and an eco-friendly and debt-free wannabe: I need a community.
Call it whatever you want.
It’s quite a lonely world when you feel disconnected and isolated with your interests and beliefs. It’s even more disconcerting when you can’t seem to find people who could be part of your community.
What do you do?
1. Reach out to someone writing about your interests and beliefs.
I’ve been reading blogs and books from some amazing minds for quite some time. Until late last year, I never thought to reach out. I started leaving a few comments and sending a few e-mails in response to specific essays or just to say thanks for the positive impact their writing has had on my life. Every single person replied, and I’ve even developed friendships, been offered guest posts, and been given support in my own writing efforts. I’m building my online people who I hope to have the opportunity to meet in person some day.
2. Frequent environments that represent you.
If you do what you love in the right environment, your people are probably there already. I’ve had conversations with people at my rock-climbing gym, in the forest, at local shops… Finding your people can be both daunting and difficult. As an extreme introvert, it has been especially hard for me to do this. Quite frankly, I’m still finding it difficult, but I know that my people won’t always approach me if I appear introverted all the time. It’s important to take the initiative.
3. Join or start a MeetUp group.
Outdoor enthusiast? Minimalist? Dog lover? Avid reader? Find your people in a MeetUp group. Group doesn’t exist? Create one. I asked to become an administrator of one of my hiking groups so I could set up day hikes in the 15,000+ acres of a forest near my house. I just joined a group that helps people practice primitive survival skills in a safe environment.
So what do you think? Are you my people? Who are your people?
Send an e-mail. I’d love to hear from you.