Is Your Community Your Home?

Posted Aug 18th, 2017

Is Your Community Your Home?

Community means something different to every person. Home, on the other hand, means the place you were born and/or where you consider your roots.

About 3 years ago, my wife and I relocated from Barrie to Niagara for work. I had lived in Barrie for 25 years and had started my career there. To put it in perspective, the City was 50,000 people when I arrived and over 130,000 when we left. During that time, we had made several friends, mostly through clubs and organizations of interest. On moving to Welland, where we initially rented, and now own a home, the prospect of moving again recently surfaced. Being a planning nerd, this begged the question:

Is where we live now, our community or our home?  

When we were renting, our neighbours were fabulous! We lived in a 5 unit bungalow townhouse, occupying the middle unit. All of us got along and had many 'garage/driveway' parties, where we would meet on the spur of the moment to socialize, or on certain days for a pot luck. These get togethers were fabulous and created a great community! Then we decided that the townhouse was not right for us (noise, air flow, lack of sunlight etc were factors), so moved to a house no more than 5 minutes away. Even that small change resulted in fewer get togethers, and when we did see each other it was for planned events. The spontaneity was gone... :-( Our community was not entirely lost, but it was certainly fragmented.

My wife and I joined a ballroom dancing class, and I enjoy singing barbershop harmony. Both involve groups. Ballroom dancing took us nearly 2 years to develop friendships beyond the class. My singing needs were beyond our local community, as I drive to Hamilton weekly, long-distance based community. As for neighbours, we live on a quiet street dominated by younger couples with kids. Being empty nesters, we have little in common, so so haven’t become friends.

How can you tell the difference between a community and a home?

I don't feel connected in any big way to Welland. But we do feel connected to our former neighbours, people within our dance class and some others. But do I consider Welland my home or community? Not really. I consider it a place to live for the moment. No idea how long the moment will be. Due to a recent change in employment, we were considering moving out of Niagara. I guess, being more nomadic, that I'm open to the next adventure, whatever it may be.

Community means something different to every person.

I believe a community becomes home when it gives you: friends; services; access; employment; and the desire to belong to something bigger.

Home is the place you were born and/or where you consider your roots.

For me, home is Guelph (Born & raised) and to some extent Barrie (lived for 25 years). Many of the folks we met in Niagara call it home because their family has always lived here.

So, in my view, the place you live becomes your community until it becomes your home. Home is based on comfort, familiarity, access and other intangible factors that combine to keep us engaged or push away. Home is not based on geographical or political boundaries.

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