Have realistic expectations and stay where you are
Teenagers can’t wait to leave town and get away from their families. Their family members are idiots.
Where do they think they’re going?
Their family members seem like idiots because they’re human beings. What the seekers will find in the next town or in the big city is human beings.
They should lower their expectations, make a commitment, and stay where they are.
Emigrants and ex-pats can’t wait to leave and get away. Where do they think they’re going?
Some other place is more wealthy or more cultured? The other place is full of human beings.
The plight of refugees is one thing. They’re driven out. The situation of voluntary emigrants is something else. If they have skills or talents, then they impoverish their homeplace when they leave. They should make a commitment, stay where they are, improve the situation.
The fable about the grass being greener . . . we tend to be that way. We go over the hill with hopes that are too high.
I see it all the time in regard to new members of the Green Party. People think, ah, I’ve found a superior group: peaceable, mature, tolerant, enlightened. It takes six to twelve months to recognize that they’ve found a group of other human beings.
But this is especially significant when it comes to creating or moving in to a cohousing community. “Ah, I’ve found a group of progressive, mature, enlightened communitarians.” Uh-oh.
In the case of the Green Party . . . it’s just a club . . . easy in, easy out. The process is usually, like: Ninety percent of new members get disappointed within a year. Half of those just leave. They go on to another group or club or Meetup. The other half get reconciled, their expectations get realistic, they stay.
In the case of a cohousing community, you’ve sold your house and you’ve moved in “for good.” And it’s not quite as good as you expected. It’s almost invariably not quite as good as you expected. People are not all so tolerant, people fight, people are idiosyncratic, some are nice but some will drive you nuts.
I wish a clause of the introductory material presented to potential members said: “We welcome you to join our community, we hope you do. We want you to know that we strive to treat each other in a communitarian way, but none of us succeeds at that all of the time and it would be best if your expectations were fully realistic.” Best if you lower your expectations, commit to us anyway, stick around, and tackle the difficult, prosaic work of making things as good as possible. There’s no better place to go to.