I Moved to a Commune

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I moved to a commune a few months ago. I don’t know how much more I want to say about it. I’ve always been reticent when it comes to broadcasting details about my life online (that’s one way I show my age) and the place I’ve moved to also avoids media exposure. It’s a special place, for sure, but in another way it’s just like any other: people living with each other and trying to get along. My daily life varies but usually it’s some variety of writing, art-making and helping out with various tasks. I’m learning a ton. I’m also very much out of my element, which is a gift and a challenge.

I first came to this place five years ago and had the novel experience of feeling like I’d found “my people.” I’d never identified with a community before – not even the gay community, really – and it was intoxicating. I’ve come back several times over the years, and about three years ago I decided I wanted to live here.

It was not an easy decision. I’d lived in Pittsburgh since I was eighteen. I have deep friendships there, a support network, a family. I had to get rid of most of my stuff and move out of my beloved apartment. I had to quit the job I worked at for the last nine years. That wasn’t so difficult – I was pretty burnt out on it – but it did thrust me into the great financial unknown. The hardest part was rehoming my cats. I found a really nice guy on Craigslist who lived just a few blocks away from me and adopted both of them. It wrenched my heart out but I know I did right by them.

To complicate matters I fell in love about two years ago. I told him my plans from the outset so it wasn’t a shock when my time to leave came around, but it still wasn’t easy. We’re hundreds of miles apart but we talk almost every day, and the freedom and trust he’s given me to follow this dream only strengthens my love for him. I don’t know what’s going to happen – does anybody? – but I ain’t skeered.

I’m where I’m supposed to be. I grew up in a small town and I’ve always wanted to get away from the city again. I get to explore the connection I have with this community and learn some valuable life skills. I get to wake up every morning and do what I was born to do – write – and I’ll be able to do that until I need to make money again.

What I’ll do then is anybody’s guess. More than anything this experience has been a lesson in living life one moment at a time. For most of the past three months I’ve been living out of a tent. I never wanted that, but it was an opportunity – to fall asleep at night to the owls hooting, to wake up to the birds singing. I’ve tiled a bathhouse, shoveled shit out of composting toilet and helped build a staircase. I’ve also written. Nothing too significant, mostly cleaning up old projects that I hope to have out in the world soon.

I’ll let you know how it all turns out.

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