When I was young, my father was a petty officer in the US Navy.

Every few years, no matter where I was in school or where my mom was working, we would pack up our things, cancel our lease, and move somewhere new.

Of course it was unsettling, always being the new girl, always starting fresh, and different families cope in different ways.

You look for anchors, we did anyway. We found our anchor in The Salvation Army.

Every city we lived in, whether we were high in the Midwest or on a beach in the southeast, there was a Salvation Army close by. We could walk in those doors and see people wearing the same uniforms, singing the same songs, many of them knowing the same people we did.

We were new, were unsettled, and we needed a community, and we always found one there.

If you’re an American, you probably don’t live in the city you were born in. You’re likely to live far from your parents and from here on out, to move somewhere new every few years for the rest of your life.

Sometimes you’ll know one person, sometimes no one at all. Always, you’ll need community.

If you’re feeling stuck, and a little bit lonely, here are some ideas to help you find one too:

Volunteer

Maybe the best way to meet like-minded people is to find a cause you care about and give back. Take some time right now to jot down a few causes you believe in. Then, visit Idealist, or maybe just google, to find organizations that are involved in that cause in your area.

Join a Church

The Salvation Army is friendly and welcoming and you’ll find opportunities to serve, give, and love there. Other churches offer that too. There may not be a better way to quickly form a community with like-minded, relationship-seeking people than in the halls of the right church.

Check out Meetup.com

If you haven’t heard, Meetup.com is a website where you can find local informal, or sometimes formal, clubs and organizations centered on almost any common interest. Do you like to run? Speak French? Read 19th century romance novels? There’s a group for everyone.

Community takes work, it takes investment, it takes intentionality. If you’re looking for one, go out and seek it and be open to the people you might meet who are also seeking you.

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