Community: Then and Now

The idea for this blog came as a result of not being able to match my own expectations of having an organised life. Looking around Internet, I found a lot of really great advice that helps you keep the ever-growing mess of a family with children from going overboard, and I am thankful for that. However, the child in me, the one that I will never give up on, always claims her space; she needs to throw things on the floor and leave the dishes in the sink. Out of that conflict between trying to be tidy and wanting to be me is how this blog was born.

However, the more I write and get in touch with people through my posts, the more I realize that there is a sub-story to this whole thing, and that this story is not just mine, it is the story of this new, digital time.

Like many people nowadays, I live in  an urban area, very far away from my roots. I changed cities, countries and communities several times, leaving behind many good and bad memories and many valuable connections with people I met along the way. Some of those connections remain strong and solid, some are weakened  and others have broken. But if I take my glance off the big picture to direct it to its smallest parts, my daily life, and compare it to the daily life of an eight-year.old me, there is one significant difference: Community.

When I was growing up, in the seventies, your grocers knew your name and you could leave your groceries in the shop, without paying, while you went about running other errands. Now there are no small grocery stores in the area where I live. If there was rain, and you were not home, the neighbor would collect your laundry from the line, so it would not get wet. Now, if my laundry is missing I would think that somebody stole it. I don’t know my neighbors, and  many of them don’t even say “Hi” when we see each other in the corridors of my apartment block. I sometimes on purpose say “Hi” just to enjoy their momentary confusion. There are endless examples to this alienation of people.

But, times change. It is good to be nostalgic, but it is also important to understand that progress carries inevitable modifications to our lifestyles. We are alienated from the people who are physically closest to us and who share our everyday moments: our neighbors still live in the same building, and the big chain grocery store still employs people, it is just that we don’t form a community with them anymore.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The need to be a part of community does not disappear because the times and lifestyle have changed. It just finds new ways to realize itself. Blogging seems to be one of the ways, at least for me. If I see that people found my blog by searching content that I write about, if they read my blog, or comment on the posts, I feel that part of my everyday, some of my thoughts,  fears, laughs and worries are shared. In my immediate environment I might be just a customer in a shop, or a person that you pass by in the corridor, but through the blog I feel I belong to a community.

Of course, the way to interact with others online is completely different from what it used to be when our communities consisted of people who shared our every day lives, and I believe we are still learning. But I am glad that we do have a way to build new ways to answer the most human need, the need to be a part of a community.

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