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Words of Wisdom Day 20 featuring Catherine Birdwell

What does community mean to you?

“I was born and raised in a small town where everyone knew everyone, and boundaries were few and far between. But in times of challenge and hardship, individuals came together to support each other. They put others before themselves without thinking twice.

Like many other millennials, I grew up and found myself hopping from city to city in pursuit of adventure and opportunity. There were times I felt nostalgic for the community of my childhood, wondering if it was possible in today’s society.

Last year, my husband had a sudden, unexpected health scare. And I saw our community emerge around us. Loved ones near and far dropped everything to come to our side and ask how they could help. We were overwhelmed with calls, texts, emails, and visits, reminding us that someone somewhere was thinking of us. The road to recovery didn’t end when we left the hospital, and our community continued to stick by us each step of the way.

I now know that this is my community. It’s putting the people you love before yourself so you aren’t surprised when, during the hard times, they put you before themselves.”

Why is having a soul tribe important to you?

“Community takes effort. Schedule phone dates with long distance friends. Don’t cancel plans with girlfriends after a long work day. Find time every day for substantive conversation with someone you love.

Never hesitate to connect with old friends. Don't worry if too much time has passed or if that friend seems busy. But also don’t be afraid to make new friends: try new things, attend social events without familiar faces. Be vulnerable and open.”

 What words of advice do you have for women seeking out deeper community and connection:

“Practice compassion. Avoid judgment and cynicism. Always strive to find the good in others. “