I scroll over my Friends’ pictures on my Spark page and so many are not there anymore. Still other's pictures are “active” meaning their information still comes up, but it has been many, many days and in some cases even years since they’ve updated their status. This makes me so sad. Friends who were once so vibrant and enthusiastic in their quest for good health seem to have just vanished. I’m sure the reasons are as varied as the lives of all of us. I can’t answer my question for my Friends on my Spark page, but I need to answer it for myself.
Where Am I?
I’ve been a member of Spark People since August of 2008. I have missed very few days of logging in and the ones I missed were due to no Internet connection. I was very active on my teams and met several wonderful people on SP who got to be such good friends we even met up in person. Those were such wonderful days of friendship and camaraderie. We were all like-minded in our quest for health and weight loss. We genuinely cared about each other’s lives, not just in the area of physical health but mental and emotional health as well. So what happened?
Life got really busy. I was teaching full time. I had a fifty-minute commute one way to school, so almost two hours of my day was spent driving. Add to that all the teacher duties that had to be done at home, time for family, and housework. As if that wasn’t enough, I went back to school online to finish my Bachelor’s Degree and took a full course load. Although I logged in to SP and kept my own nutrition and exercise log going (sporadically), I had to let something go and that something was my community. There’s no one to blame but myself. My reason was an understandable one and seemed necessary at the time. But at what cost?
I had lost thirty pounds that first year. The workload I had put on myself and the stress involved with it took its toll. I gained it all back and then some. I began to have health issues. I have not given up the fight, but the fight seems to have gotten harder. I keep checking on my friends to see where they are in their fight, but to no avail. I wonder what life happenings or crises have caused them to drop by the wayside of community importance?
Why was Community so important?
1. I was part of a team with a shared common goal.
2. I had to be accountable to someone other than myself.
3. I needed to be an encouragement to others.
4. I needed to receive encouragement from others.
5. I needed acceptance without judgment.
The Spark People community provided all of this. So why, now that the degree has long since been earned, since the job and the commute has now ended, since the work load at home has decreased significantly, am I still neglecting this vital element of Spark People? I have no excuse! I need to reach out to others and take the time to be an encourager and to be encouraged. I need to be accountable to my community. I’ve been quiet for so long that this may be a challenge for me. But Spark people are all about a good challenge, right?