Finding Your People
One year ago, I had just graduated my youngest after 25+ years of full-time mom-ing. No longer dominated by schedules, carpools, or any other humans' preferences for everything from meals to entertainment, I found myself feeling surprisingly...disconnected.
I was in a new season. I was traveling through uncharted territory. And that left me feeling a bit off-kilter.
I had been cultivating others for over 25 years. I decided that now was the time to cultivate myself.
Reading was the only hobby that I'd maintained through my entire adult life, so I decided to start there.
I researched all the bookish things I could think of & decided that finding a Book Club was a good place to start. (My advice to crowd-source a Book Club via NextDoor worked! You can read about it here.)
It was awkward at first. I wasn't sure how being in a Book Club worked. I didn't know if there were unspoken rules of etiquette or the first thing about forging connections both with and between strangers (because that was what we were to one another a year ago - total strangers).
But my heart longed to connect, to find "my people" - other avid readers, fellow bookworms, lovers of literature - and I knew I wouldn't find them if I quit just because I felt uncomfortable.
So I implemented a valuable skill I had honed over the previous 25+ years. I planned.
I planned icebreakers and get-to-know-you games all about books because this was a Book Club, after all, and our favorite novels & authors, the last books we'd read that we couldn't put down, our favorite genres, etc. all seemed like the perfect fodder to get to know one another before we actually began talking about that month's book.
And just like that, connections began to form between us strangers.
At first they were very tentative connections, but they were connections all the same.
We found that "stories allow(ed) us to feel connected with others and part of something bigger than ourselves."*
Because this connection was a universal experience, books provided the perfect starting point for connecting with other humans. With one another.
"Reading has been shown to help us better understand and interact with other people."*
And that is what I was searching for a year ago - connectedness.
"Social connection is a strong, human need. Anytime we feel connected to others, we feel good in general and feel good about our lives."**
After the eye roll that was 2020, I discovered that I wasn't the only one yearning for a sense of connection. Riding the success of my in-person neighborhood Book Club, I decided to branch out more widely in 2021 and began Pretty Literate's Virtual Book Club. Unlike my neighborhood Book Club (in which we read the same book), PL's Virtual Book Club was founded with this simple mission statement:
"Read what you want. Come talk about it."
It worked! And this is still how we still roll one year later. Honestly, we get the best book recs this way! (See below for info on joining us on the Third Thursdays of the month to see for yourself. We'd love to hear about what you've been reading!)
I also founded The Classics Community in 2021 with nothing more than a dream. I was so happy that a couple of my sisters, a few friends, several peeps from the Virtual Book Club, and a handful of strangers hitched their wagon to the dream and joined me! Six months later, we continue to add more to our lives through the community we've formed:
- more classic literature
- more authors
- more personal growth
- more bookish conversation
- more community
- more connection
The Classics Community was the missing piece to the puzzle for me. Maybe for all of us.
Maybe for you, too.
I'm not going to say it was easy, ferreting out these social connections, but, my reading friend - It was worth the effort I put into it.
✔️ I am connecting in-person with other readers in my neighborhood. (This was the first proverbial scratch of that itch I had a year ago.)
✔️ I am connecting monthly during Pretty Literate's Virtual Book Club (Third Thursdays every month at 7pm Central via Zoom - link info sent via email the week of our Virtual Book Club, so sign up below!). I love the simple "read what you want and come talk about it" format and I've gotten the BEST BOOK RECS during Pretty Literate's Virtual Book Club.
✔️ I am connecting via The Classics Community. The Classics Community is THE ONE that took my desire for connectedness to the PLATINUM level. I'm reading more broadly. I'm connecting with insanely interesting women inside our private literary community, growing and experiencing daily that "feel good" that comes with those strong social connections mentioned above.
Are you yearning for that connectedness that I was searching for a year ago? If you answered YES, I invite you to connect with us inside The Classics Community by clicking here.
We can be your people, too.
Come read with us in 2022 and discover that platinum level of connectedness for yourself.
*According to Melanie Green, PhD (Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at University at Buffalo as quoted in this CNBC article)
**According to Associate Professor of Psychology at UB, Shira Gabriel, PhD.
And I got a question right on Jeopardy! about Edith Wharton – never knew anything about her until Classical Book Club.
I had wanted to be part of a book club for years and PL came along at exactly the right time. I so enjoy getting to talk about books and stories and feelings and laughing with others who enjoy the same things! And being a member of the classics community really IS the proverbial “icing on the cake”.
I am glad to have joined this community and I am happy with the connections we’ve made via the Virtual book club and the Classics Community. I encourage all who are thinking about it to check it out and you’ll find us very warm and welcoming.