Re: Cohousing as a rigorous way to live
From: JoycePlath (
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 09:43:01 -0600 (MDT)
It is reassuring to read that others have a difficult time during the first 
year of a new CoHousing experience.  For me, after eight years of planning 
and nurturing Marsh Commons it was painful to move in and discover that a 
substantial portion of my fellow co housers resented my efforts as project 
manager (fortunately everyone seems to really enjoy the built environment).  
The first year was a lot like a bad marriage with undercurrents of resentment 
that made even small negative exchanges intensely hurtful.  At that time we 
had eight of our twelve homes completed. 
 Six months ago the last four homes have been occupied, giving us a healthy 
twenty to thirty folks at dinner three times a week, and new energy to 
complete assorted projects.  The center of gravity has shifted and suddenly 
it is a very special place to live.
A month ago I had knee surgery and was amazingly well cared for by my 
community.  There were flowers, meals, books, bottles of wine and help 
drinking it, trips to the bank, postoffice, and pharmacy, and the use of a 
bicycle delivery service for anything I needed during the first few weeks.  
During the time that I could not walk, it was comforting to know that with 
the phone next to my bed I could get help if needed it with in a couple of 
minutes from half a dozen neighbors.
Recently there has been a casual group that goes to the movies on Tuesday 
night after dinner,  Another group sings, with the help of two guitars one 
night a week. In a week or two our recreation room will be done and we will 
celebrate with a dance party for a couple who are both turning forty.  This 
Sunday we will have our first egg hunt and brunch with many friends are 
planning to attend.  
We still have some healing to do from earlier experiences but gradually our 
level of trust is improving. I have gone from a position that I might well 
have to move out (that bad marriage feeling) to a sense that this indeed is 
growing into a neighborhood that is caring, supportive, spontaneous, and fun. 
 It took two years of living here to begin to feel this way. 

Joyce Plath
Marsh Commons, Arcata, California
JoycePlath [at]
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