When the Notion of Community is a Myth

There are notions that remain full of fantasy and nostalgia for us – no matter what reality may be. We can still long for the old house with the picket fence, even when the cost of upkeep and the lack of energy efficiency do not make the choice of such a house a wise decision.

Many people of all ages currently are seeking to find solace, meaning and focus in this notion of community. Whether it is the intention to form or join an intentional community or a move to a place that feels like it has a sense of community, many people are seeking to move beyond isolated existences to a broader kind of belonging.

There is little in the literature about the unfolding of communities that have established themselves over the last 20-30 years. What happens to a cohousing community as it grows up? When one examines numerous communities in the United States, the answer is complicated. Strains on such communities include:

~an absence of the same community building kind of activities/existence as when they formed

~ diverse philosophies with evolving membership

~aging populations who no longer want to do so much physical labor and a younger population who have no interest in such labor

~the pressure from outside forces to accept aging folks who see the community as a unofficial form of care facility

~changing demographics

~divorces and social upheaval.

The other challenge to any intentional community – be it a town, city or village, is that our skills at social interaction have atrophied. As our lives got busier and our focus shifted to our work lives and our nuclear family, the rituals that nurture and sustain community relationships have fallen from our realm of habit.

If you are drawn to the notion of community, it is advisable that you explore your own ability to interact as part of a community. Explore each individual community with a desire to know what makes that ecosystem tick.