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to want to live in a commune/intentional community?

(24 Posts)
manicinsomniac Sun 21-Apr-13 00:48:20

Goodness knows why because I've always hated being around lots of people for more than a day or two at a time but I watched a film about a hippy commune tonight and I so want to go and find one.

There's a very established one near to me (according to google!) and now I'm even thinking about visiting them. Freedom from convention and materialism, caring and sharing, sex, drugs and rock and roll and all that jazz.

Tell me it won't be like this and that I am officially crazy, insane, scarring my children simply by contemplating it and am in fact being a manic insomniac

It's a stupid idea and I am being unreasonable ... right?? (but it's sooo tempting!)

amazingmumof6 Sun 21-Apr-13 01:03:58

I wouldn't do it, doesn't sound right at all, sorry

Cravingdairy Sun 21-Apr-13 01:12:37

You're not insane to want a 'better' life but I suspect the problems of conventional life still rear their heads in these places, just in a different guise...

HarrietSchulenberg Sun 21-Apr-13 01:28:01

I briefly considered one when ex-H and I were splitting up and I thought I was going to lose the house. There's one about 30 miles from me that I'd known from years ago and the house was amazing: huge rooms, fantastic views, lots and lots of space etc.

Visited a couple of times and thought the people were ok, slightly mad but but hearts in the right place. Kitchen was enormous and cooking and meals were shared so adults only had to cook about once a week. All food was bought communally.

But when I really, really thought about it I realised that the lifestyle was not for me anymore. I needed my own space, not lots of space that I shared with others. I didn't want to have to eat communally, and cook for others. Communal living was a great concept at 20 and single but not so good at almost 40 with a pile of children, and I honestly think that if I'd gone there l would have ended up murdering the other inhabitants!

AgentZigzag Sun 21-Apr-13 01:35:54

I would say that if you can't stand being with other people for more than just a day or two it's something else about a commune life, like the possible stability it can offer or its interpretation of 'community', that you're really searching for.

In reality it's just a more intense/concentrated version of what you have at the minute, all the same in-fighting and wankers you have to put up with every day now, but you have to hug a tree and make up before lights off in a commune <shudder> grin

The closest I like to come to people is watching them on the telly, any closer and there'd be murders.

KeatsiePie Sun 21-Apr-13 01:37:18

I've often thought it would be nice. My DH and I had roommates when we were first together and I really liked it -- it's nice to have other people around, to have their conversations enter your day. And I have thought how nice it would be to raise children in a community. But I'm also too uptight and impatient for it -- I imagine endless meetings with arguments over the fucking recycling, irritating household chore rotas, etc. ... just not being able to have things as I liked them. I have friends with whom I can imagine building a little community where the benefits would outweigh the costs but it's not going to happen.

AgentZigzag Sun 21-Apr-13 01:37:33

Or is it the 'being looked after' bit you're searching for?

You could try a cult or prison?

Kungfutea Sun 21-Apr-13 01:47:31

I have friends who grew up on Israeli kibbutzim when they still had children's houses back in the 70s and 80s. Two friends hated it, one of them left the kibbutz and could never live there again, the other eventually moved back for many of the reasons you mention. The other friend loved kibbutz life and he moved back as well after 20 years in the city. So maybe there's something in it? I couldn't though! I think all kibbutzim have abandoned children's houses now though.

amazingmumof6 Sun 21-Apr-13 01:58:43

agentzigzag "You could try a cult or prison?" equally hospital or old peoples home...grin

DonCorleYoni Sun 21-Apr-13 02:08:45

A "community" rather than a "commune" was established in the village that I used to live in.
I knew all of them, about 30 households, and became real friends with a few of them. It didn't work out how any of them thought it would.
Most of them started out very idealistic about it, but couldn't grasp that the others wouldn't do what they wanted!
It all became very petty and, interestingly, the ones I was most friendly with have now left.
I was there once and someone asked if I would consider living there. I said no because you all think you're chiefs and you haven't got enough indians.

manicinsomniac Sun 21-Apr-13 09:42:31

Ha, in the harsh, cold light of day this isn't seeming like such a great idea after all!

agent - I suppose I probably am looking for all those things you mention. I'm a single parent of 2 girls and have always been single. I have lots of great friends but no family close by and I suppose I miss that sometimes. And my oldest child is 10 now and starting to become more independent which is scaring me (I liked being our little malleable group of 3 who just got out and did everything together). Maybe I'm feeling more vulnerable than I thought I was.

But the hippy commune thing probably isn't the answer!

I'd still be interested in any positive experiences though!

OTheHugeManatee Sun 21-Apr-13 10:06:59

manic - There's a 'lone parent houseshare' thread in the Lone Parents section, might that be of interest?

Personally, I wouldn't do a commune again. IME that kind of setup inevitably leads to exactly the same politics, infighting and bullshit as you get anywhere else, only intensified because you all live together and harder to tackle because you're all, like, really evolved and changing the world and above that kind of thing hmm

KeatsiePie Sun 21-Apr-13 10:22:57

OThe this harder to tackle because you're all, like, really evolved and changing the world and above that kind of thing is exactly what I picture with a commune. I lived in a fraternity for awhile in college and we were a bunch of tiresomely cool cynics and even so the house meetings were teeth-grittingly "evolved" grin

But manic I think what you're saying makes complete sense, especially as your oldest is getting more independent. And I do think humans have a push-pull nature in this way: we need independence, but we need community. Hard to solve. (Sorry that's not very helpful.)

Zorra Sun 21-Apr-13 10:29:14

I lived in an intentional community for nearly ten years (before kids though) : loved some of it and hated some of it. I think you have to have something strong which binds you together as a community, otherwise it's a load of people who have made lifestyle choices which don't always sit comfortably! I would definitely do it with kids if there was anything I believed in enough to make it the centre of my world, think I am too jaded now though grin

AgentZigzag Sun 21-Apr-13 10:30:58

Could you get more involved in what's going on in your local area manic?

There's always loads of stuff going on if you have a look.

You could get into local politics and give them what for grin

ConfusedPixie Sun 21-Apr-13 11:40:45

I like the communities and there is one near me that looks great, DP isn't up for it though sad

there are to potential projects starting near me but one is vegans only which is the only thing I don't like about it and the other is going nowhere at the moment!

chaime Sun 21-Apr-13 12:20:26

The Danes seem to do it well according to my Scandinavian friends.

I'd quite like to try it someday, maybe when the kids have left home. I've never been able to get over living in halls at Uni - best time of my life, having so many friends and so much fun around. If a commune is anything like that then I'd love it grin

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 21-Apr-13 12:25:06

My Dh would love this and he has a dream of buying some land and having us and close friends all live together, working the land and each family with their own building.

It sounds ace but in reality would degenerate as people pissed one another off over minor things. One bad crop and you've got 6 families under strain.

manicinsomniac Sun 21-Apr-13 13:42:21

Thanks for the stories and suggestions - some great ideas.

Definitely relate to the never having got over leaving uni halls thing!

chaime Sun 21-Apr-13 14:55:57

Wahey uni halls! Well, I don't miss the dodgy food and the stealing of the crockery and the breaking of the crockery and the clothes horses that would never stay up and the occasional tosser who would constantly leave his pubes all over the toilet and the East Asian girl who didn't know how Western sanitary bins worked, but I'm sure an adult commune would find a way around all these issues grin

Takver Sun 21-Apr-13 15:03:33

"Freedom from convention and materialism, caring and sharing, sex, drugs and rock and roll and all that jazz."

I lived in an intentional community for 5 years, and sadly I have to say that there wasn't a great deal of sex, drugs and rock-and-roll grin

It was a lovely place to live with kids, though, why not go and visit a few & see how you find it for real?

In the long term we couldn't make it work in terms of the time needed for the community, time for family plus time for our growing business (but we lived somewhere with a 100 acre farm so much more communal work needed than the average), but we still see the people there loads, in fact DH & DD are off to hunt toads in the woods this afternoon if it ever stops raining smile

RiaOverTheRainbow Sun 21-Apr-13 16:13:50

I really like the idea, but as a massive introvert I'm not sure the reality would be as appealing.

Takver Sun 21-Apr-13 17:54:04

Where we lived most of us had separate houses (think a big central farmhouse, with converted outbuildings), which is pretty common. So most people have their own kitchen / separate living space, I think that's really important if you have dc as it means if you feel like it (eg if dc are having a massive tantrum and you can't face the world with them!) you can just keep to yourself for a bit.

manicinsomniac Sun 21-Apr-13 18:30:07

Takver that does sound like a wonderful lifestyle. I get what you're saying about the community hours input needed though. I don't think I'd be able to do it.

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