Founding, Joining, and Needs

I’ve been interested in community for a few years now, inspite of community houses/coliving arrangements not working for me. Back in spring I started dreaming of founding a community, where everyone had their own dwelling, a good mix of community life and a bit of privacy. So this winter I tried starting the founding process, quickly gathered six other people who wanted to move forward. There aren’t a lot of communities in the suburbs of my area, which is where my husband and I like being, so we thought that starting one could be the answer.

What we realized though is that we’re not founder material. Our enthusiasm isn’t the problem, I’ve done so much research and have lots of ideas, work well with others, etc. But what I ran into is that being someone with multiple disabilities was getting in my way (what else is new?). This isn’t the fault of the other cofounders in the group, they were great and super understanding and some of them have disabilities too. But everyone’s situation is unique, and mine gets in my way enough that the emotional stammina needed for founding won’t be there for me, even though my inner being is pumped and stoked and dialed in. But my inner being is trapped in my brain and body so it is limited. Plus my husband’s job is very socially demanding and he needs to just be able to come home some nights and not do any peopling for the rest of the night.

Our plan now, being older and wiser, so to speak, is to either join up with the community that I got the ball rolling on later when they have infastructure, or for us to eventually buy a home in the local resident owned community park, which is basically a type of cohousing or intentional community for modular homes. (I found out that the public transit goes there, which is huge for me, I was kind of afraid of committing to something where the bus doesn’t go since driving isn’t an option for me. I mean we were talking about creating some sort of shuttle system, but I don’t know how realistic that is since I’ve never seen a community do that in my research). Would the modular home community be the land-based community of my dreams? No, but its something and I know that intentional community is a need for me to eventually join and have in my life. Could we eventually join the community we hoped to help found? Maybe, we’ll see what direction the current cofounders (now down to four) will take things, I hope they succede, whether I end up joining later or not, they have some great ideas and they want to acquire land in springtime, so they’re on the fast track goals wise.

Why am I word-vommiting here about my recent experience? Because I guess I don’t want others to feel alone if this has happened to them, to let people know their needs are valid. To let people know that we won’t always succede as we hoped we would and that you have to listen to what you know is right for you. And to help myself feel more okay about these experiences myself. Of course this isn’t the first time I’ve hit these walls in my life, it has happened, and it will happen, many times. But I don’t like feeling alone in it and so I’m letting others know my experience so they don’t feel inadequate or alone the way I feel right now.

We still have our community goals and we are going to do whatever we can to meet this need for community, but we must do it in a way that works for us. Remember wants are negotiable, needs are not negotiable.

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Hi Riona
Thank you for your post. I’m at a point where we are starting to think about realising plans for a community - but also becoming aware it may be different and much more modest than we’d originally thought. So I hear what you are saying about wants and needs, and for me this translates into not being overly attached to a pre-conceived vision (much as vision can be valuable) and rather to see what is really possible. Also that there may be real ways to live the core underlying values of our vision, that look different to what we’d originally thought.