What I Learned Living Alone
As many of you know Raven and I have been forced to live apart, and when I say apart I mean far apart, for quite some time now. We can thank this to the military service I am still contractually obligated to fulfill. This is the first time I have lived alone since college and in this time my mindset, philosophies and life have changed drastically.
Raven and I have talked extensively on here and other places about community. When we say community we are talking about intentional communities, or tribes, which as the name implies comes together with specific intentions. These intentions are to promote and pursue goals of strong relationships, support, sustainability, activism, environmental stewardships and so forth. These communities do not come together lightly and those that come to them do so with strong convictions and desires.
From my personal experience community has not been this way. I was raised in middleclass suburbia right outside of Des Moines, IA. So yes, smack dab in the heartland of America. So for me, community was the collection of houses and families that lived around my neighborhood and in my town. This town would most likely come together for national holidays or local events but it was more show than anything. This was community for me, a town or neighborhood made of up various families.
To say people weren’t around or people did not come together to hang out or enjoy a get together is not accurate. This types of things occurred but as I think back on it, what were the purposes behind them? I recall barbeques for sporting events, graduations, birthdays and the like. So it felt as though there had to be something going on or “important” to draw people out and together. This is not what I think of when I think of community today.
Well for the past year or so, Raven and I have been working hard to build relationships and community. Unfortunately due to the instable nature of our living, and not in the good nomadic way, we have been unable to really grow local community. However, we have been growing our relationships and community through you (yes you who is reading this), others on social media who are striving for similar goals, and those we meet at events and workshops. This has been rewarding as we have met many we would consider friends but have yet had the pleasure to meet them in person which is exactly what we want to do.
This goal has been even tougher for me as I have been living alone in a foreign country. Of course there are those who I associate with and even a couple who I would consider friends. However, they all have their own families and own lives which are geared differently than my own. I am a foreigner and my life is not here. I have no community. Sure many people could say living alone has its perks. You can do what you want when you want. You can sleep in your bed in any position and sleep in as late as you desire on the weekends. You choose what you eat, when you eat, and where you eat. The list goes on and on in regard to the personal freedom you have to make choices because heck, you are the only one your choices impact.
However, there in the freedoms lies the problems. You choose for you. You eat alone. You cook alone. You sleep alone. You are alone. The more I am alone the harder it is to find purpose, drive and reason. Where I live, what is it I am working for? Make myself comfortable? I don’t think the majority of people are truly happy these days because what purpose do they have? People go about their days living for themselves or their little families and are not working towards their community. There are those that are and I think they are the happy ones. Those who are out working hard for their community, making it better, making it stronger, and healthy.
Living alone has taught me more than ever before that I, nay all of us, need community badly. I struggle daily with purpose because I am living only for myself. I desire so badly to break traditional domestication and society and be a part of something real. A community that has come together for a purpose and are striving to make this a better world. I am ready to get my hands dirty planting and working hard but all the while enjoying the companionship and relationships of others who desire the same thing.
So I have found living alone sucks, give me a tribe.