A few recent events have really made me think a lot about community. Or rather, the lack of it in this age. We each live in our own little bubbles, isolated from each other, surrounded by people living in theirs. We go about our daily business alone except for our family, whilst our next door neighbours go about theirs. We’re probably doing very similar, or even the same, activities. But we do it in isolation. The more I think about it, the more crazy it seems.
Going to the home-education camp recently really brought it home to me. Being surrounded by close friends, sharing the load, always having someone there… it was amazing. The kids would wake up and all go off together on their adventures, whilst the adults chatted while we cooked and got on with the few chores that camping entails. There was always someone there to hold the baby. If someone was doing a load of washing up they would take everyone’s. There was always someone with some spare hot water for a cup of tea, or a bit of leftover dinner so someone wouldn’t have to cook. We shared, we cooperated and most importantly of all, we were a community. If only it could have lasted forever…
I knew that coming home would be a culture shock. But it’s not just that. This way we live seems crazy to me. Why don’t we know our neighbours?! Why are we all so reluctant to come together and share? We’re all people aren’t we? We all want similar things in life. What is this sickness that is our culture?
Over the last few months I’ve had the great pleasure to be part of a wonderful community of women on Facebook. What started off as a group to support us through the process of Intuitive Eating and healing ourselves of a lifetimes damage when it comes to body image, has become so much more. Being amongst these women, sharing our innermost feelings and problems… it’s been an inspiration. And an invaluable emotional resource the like of which I’ve never known before. Here are women who are genuinely trying to help each other in any way they can. Whether it’s a virtual hug, a listening ear, someone to call in the middle of the night when you’re feeling down, practical help… they’re there. They’re always there. And not in the platitudinous, empty “we’re always here” that you often get from well-meaning people, but know they don’t actually mean it. In a very real, going-that-extra-mile kind of way!
But it’s made me realise what we’re missing in society. Why do we live the way we do? Isolated. Why don’t we share? Why is it that I share a garden with two neighbours and we each have our own play equipment that we would never consider sharing? Why couldn’t the more fortunate members of the community come together to help those in need? Why are we relying on the state?! Why can’t we rely on each other?! It’s insane.
I long for a tribe: a community. If only my friends and dear family had the money to buy our own plot of land and build our own community on it. It would be wonderful!
But it has got me to thinking about where we live, and what I could do to make it better. Not waiting for someone else. Actually doing something. Am I brave enough to break outside of society’s recipe?