A little over a month ago, I wrote about my friends and how awesome they are. Today, I’m going to go a step beyond that to start talking about communities as a whole. After the first session of the Changeling LARP, we were standing around just chatting for a bit about the game and the goals that the ST (story teller) team had for the game itself. The head ST said something along the lines of how starting a new game isn’t as much about the game itself but about building a new community.
The topic of community came up again on Saturday night as we sat in Carlos’ apartment after a game of Fiasco. When I first started out LARPing, I met a whole bunch of new people and joined their community. Back then, the community was mostly full of college students or those fresh out of college. We had time, little money, and boundless imagination. Well, the time was occasionally questionable based on the courses everyone was taking and how much classwork there was to do, but regardless, we had free time. We could stay up until all hours without worrying about having to get up in the morning to work and earn a paycheck.
Time has changed us. Our community and its needs have altered. Gone are the days of carousing without consequence. Marriages have happened and children have been born. We can’t devote every Friday evening to our geeky pursuits. We’re lucky if we can get the group together once or twice a month, what with babysitting needs and so forth. The community we’ve built has fractured under the weight of our grown-up responsibilities.
That sounds depressing and I’m not going to lie and say that it hasn’t been a little rough coming to terms with how different things have become. Being one of the few single folks left in my group, it can be a lot for me to wrap my head around the fact that my friends can’t make plans at the drop of a hat any more. If anything, we’ve got to plan weeks ahead. Months even. Even then, planning in advance is no guarantee that we’ll still be able to go ahead with said plans.
Still, you can’t give up. Every time things falter, you’ve just got to keep on moving. It’s not like they’re all gone and it’s not like things always have to stay the same. In fact, things are better when they change. Stagnation does nobody favors. Embrace what things have become and learn to work with that. When that doesn’t work, take what you do have and try to add onto it.
My current solution to my old community’s dilemma is to try and pull together a new LARP event to which I’m inviting people from the various LARP groups with which I have been involved and even some new people from my other groups and hobbies. I’m planning it to take place once a month because I know that’ll work and I’m planning to probably host it at my house. We’ve got plenty of space and my parents are more than willing to open their doors to my wacky friends.
I’m taking the Field of Dreams approach to things here: if I start something, people are bound to show up. At least that’s the plan. I’ll keep you guys posted on how that all works out for me. If you ever find yourself similarly challenged, don’t be afraid to try a similar approach. If that doesn’t work out, go out and meet some new people. There’s no harm in trying to find some like-minded individuals to pull together into a new community. At the end of the day, humans are generally social creatures in need of a group to spend time with, in person or, if it’s more your style, online.