A Private person in cohousing
From: Charlene McNamara (charlenemgmail.com)
Date: Sun, 5 Nov 2006 23:18:21 -0800 (PST)
Okay, I know it has been discussed a million and one times here, but
I'm in the thick of things here in our new community and need to get
some perspective.

I am a very private person, an introvert. Social settings drain all my
energy. I moved into cohousing because I have young children and
thought this would be a good environment for them and I love the idea
of being friendly with my neighbors. I had GREAT concerns about my
privacy. However, they were quickly erased by the comments read on
this list. Additionally, my social husband assured me that privacy can
easily be found in cohousing. Being that he lived in another cohousing
community for 5 years, I released my concerns and embraced the idea of
moving into community. This was 4 years ago.

We've been through the development process and have lived here now for
8 months. I can honestly say I have never been more unhappy in my
entire life. I feel that every movement and breath I take is noted by
my neighbors. I am constantly feeling like I need to be "on." I am
depleted and exhausted all the time. I run home to shelter myself from
this onslaught daily and hide behind my closed blind windows and
doors. I always have my "do not disturb" sign up. I have it up so much
that most people now ignore it. A case of the boy who cried wolf,
"well that sign is always up, I just figured you forgot to take it
down." I have become depressed and have gained a lot of weight.

I have wonderful neighbors here in our community and am friendly with
most of them, some I am close with and others rather distant, but
neighborly with all of them. I don't have concerns about the people
here, just that I am constantly overstimulated by all of them all the
time. It is simply exhausting to me to say hello to each and every
person I ever walk by. Yet there seems to be an expectation that I do
that. I literally have a few neighbors who go out of their way to get
my attention just to wave to me from across the property. I know they
are just being friendly, but there doesn't seem to be an understanding
that some of us simply don't always want to be social.

Am I the only person out there in the cohousing community who has had
this experience? It seems I'm the only one in our community of 90 or
so people. I am doing my best to focus on the positive and appreciate
the good things that community does offer, but being exhausted and
stressed out all the time does not help me in this endeavor! I really
want to believe that cohousing can work for me, but spend most of my
time dreaming of moving out and finding a nice single family home
where I simply have nice neighbors, again.



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