Disrupting routines; engaging in community

The days of kids’ soccer games, quarterly band concerts, field trips and Spring musicals have passed, and as my kids have grown and dispersed for the most part, I look back on those days with mixed feelings – getting three active children out the door and engaged in learning through exploring and participating in community events was (as parents will relate), like herding cats. Even so, such events were a great way to expand their (and my) world view, catch up with people in our community, learn more about local issues, and participate in the growth and development of the collective village. 

Now transitioning to an empty nest, I was recently reminded of the value in “showing up” as I attended a local concert and was a bit chagrined by the empty seats around me, especially as I realized I have not been showing up in the way I once was. 

The concert featured Grammy nominated and Broadway-acclaimed violinist, Kelly Hall-Tompkins, who featured her “re-imagined” arrangements from Broadway’s “Fiddler on the Roof” from her new album. It was particularly inspiring to hear Ms. Hall-Tompkins share about the non-profit she started, Music Kitchen, Food for the Soul – which shares music with people experiencing homelessness. Her organization has brought close to 100 chamber music performances to homeless shelters in New York City and Los Angeles. Read more about Ms. Hall-Tompkins’ work here.

Yes, I attend the occasional school board or city council meeting, serve on some committees, and frequent locally owned small businesses in our small town; however, despite opportunities to do so, I have not stretched my attendance to events outside my regular interests. I’m quite comfortable with my routine, shopping at my regular grocery store, meeting friends at our favorite local coffee shop. I aim to change this. As I proclaim the importance of community engagement to ensure a vibrant and diverse community, I need to walk the talk.  

In the coming year, I plan to pick at least one event or location per month I would not otherwise attend or visit – I’d like to get out of my personal sphere and find ways to extend myself where I haven’t in the past. I’m excited to see where this will lead.

I hope you’ll join me. 

Where have you been recently that was new or different from your regular routine? 

- Erika