“…moving on is not the same as thriving unless one becomes anchored again in a place and with a people. …One needs a sense of place, and connection to a people and a way of life that matters, and that continues…” Rebecca Dale in Communities online publication.*
I relate fully to Ms. Dale’s comments about being anchored in a place and with a people. Right now I am back in Bellingham house and dog sitting for my family. I’ve lived in Bellingham for 3 years. Most of the relationships I’ve formed other than with my family, are with the mothers of my grandchildren’s friends. I’m primarily an introvert. I was busy writing my dissertation, caring for my grandchildren, and for the property and animals where I lived. I miss having a back door tribe.
During a morning conversation with Donna, “my partner in thinking about forming a community of older women sharing resources,” we talked about where? Donna is firmly established in Vermont where her mother lives and I in the North West because 3 of my children and 4 of my grandchildren live here.
My “walk in the door, look in the frig friends” live a few hours away or are scattered across the country. My closest friends are married and live where one must have a car to even buy milk. Other single women friends with the exception of one close by I’ve discussed living in community with, own houses in rural areas miles from the nearest town with no public transportation.
Yesterday a woman who seems sympatico responded to my blog suggesting Denver, Colorado is a great place to form a women’s community (see comments in “looking for teachers”). Donna and I have talked about visiting many places but not Denver. Hmmm.
How do we decide where to live in our 70s? The article below lists 14 factors to think about when choosing a place to live. Six are most relevant to me, ranked first to last: affordability, public transportation, distance to family which might mean airports, climate, food (local food and opportunity to grow a garden), and healthcare, which may become more important as I age. http://www.moneycrashers.com/where-should-i-live-decide-best-places/. “Culture” is important to Donna.
Not mentioned specifically in that article are environment – I can deal with gritty, as a friend calls Tacoma, but I do not want to live in squalor. I don’t want to spend energy creating a fortress to avoid “crime.” I prefer common sense. I do not want to be closed in by mountains – did that, been there. I like water. I like to walk and ride my bike to town. I want to catch a bus or train to visit family and friends. I like college towns. The article didn’t mention politics – I am solidly on the liberal side of the fence. ‘Nuff said.
Choosing a place is going to take some time, investigation, and thought. It may be the easier decision because inherent in the conversation about living in community are more difficult questions. The article below asks other important questions with a bit of humor – like the one Donna and I had this morning – “will you change my diaper?” http://www.thecompletelawyer.com/thriving-beyond-midlife-where-will-you-live.html
I’m curious about what you think…
“Community is a dynamic whole that emerges when a group of people participate in common practices; depend upon one another; make decisions together; identify themselves as part of something larger than the sum of their individual relationships; and commit themselves for the long term to their own, one another’s, and, the group’s well being.” from Creating Community Anywhere, Carolyn Shaffer & Kristin Anundsen, from resources – www.womenlivingincommunity.com.