Somehow, I find myself extremely grateful for the small community that I have around me every single day. As the years pass, my community has become noticeably smaller, but much more important to who I am and how I live my life.

Every person we come in contact with, effects who we are. Whether it is the man in front of us at the grocery store or the professor lecturing in class, each of these people teaches us a little bit more about ourselves.

These communities we make consist people from all aspects of our lives. Some are our actual families and some are coworkers. Some of our communities are made up of people who have been in our lives for fifteen years  and some are people who you just met on the subway. No matter where they are connected to us, they help guide us down whatever path we are trying to make it down.

I was thinking on my run tonight about how different I would be if certain people hadn’t left my life. Who would I be if my father had not walked out four years ago? What if I had never met my mentor; would I still be be where I am? I get caught up in these thoughts of what if’s that keep me from realizing how blessed I am to have the people that I do have surrounding me. I forget just how much these people, whether they walked out or whether they chose to stay, have formed me into who I am today.

I probably wouldn’t be studying English Literature and Writing right now if I hadn’t had a certain English teacher in high school. I wouldn’t be doing as well as I am if I didn’t have the support of my little community. The thing is, in the last two years I have realized just how much my community of people has become my home. No matter how far away I am from my friends, I know that I am not ever going to be alone.

These people have loved me in spite of my flaws. They have helped me realize where I should go to follow my dream of being a writer. They have stayed. And with all of the people who have decided for one reason or another to walk out, I am even more grateful to have these strong people around me. When I think of the song Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros I think of this little family I have created.

This post may seem as if it does not have a real purpose, but in truth I just needed to express my gratitude for these people who I call my family. Blood doesn’t go as far as history would like to make us think. Family are those who stay, especially when life gets tough.

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning to sail my ship.” -Louisa May Alcott

Personally, I think a big reason that having a community to rely on while you’re finding yourself is because they help you to not be afraid of going out on your own. They know that you can come back and stay with them if you need it to but they also know that you are more than capable of taking hold of your ship without them by their sides.

It’s important that I have these people around me in my life because I am an extremely independent person. I like to do things on my own and I enjoy having to figure out how to do different things even if I have to struggle because of it.

The older I get, the smaller my community gets. Or maybe it just seems that way because the more people I add to it, the tighter we all become. For those of you who are still trying to figure out who is going to stand by you through the storms of your life, just know that the hard times are going to be extremely telling. And at times it is going to be incredibly difficult to accept that some people just can’t stay. But when the storm clears and you look to your sides and see those loyal few brushing themselves off and still supporting you, you will feel more at ease than when you had twice the number of people in your community.

“Perhaps there’s still a lot of beauty to be found here, and good people too. People to love and people who will say we’re not invisible. Perhaps there’s everything we need.”- Jamie Tworkowski


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