Re: Disallusioned with cohousing
From: Jeanne Goodman, JP Cohousing (
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2006 07:59:05 -0700 (PDT)
----- Original Message ----- From: "Sharon Villines" <sharon [at]> But I also can't imagine living any other way now that I live in cohousing. Would I move in if I were looking from outside, probably not. ----------------------------- After one full year in cohousing now, I have to agree with Sharon.

We've worked soooo hard. It wasn't bad enough that we had to get this community running from scratch, deal with the contractor, the architect and lingering problems and some disgusting problems I won't go into here...

We've also had to try to learn how to function. We're still trying to figure out how to get work done and meals made. We're trying to figure out how to deal with the different aesthetic tastes of our neighbors and to figure out how to deal with other people's clutter. I'm trying to figure out how to not be late for appointments because I get into conversations with my neighbors. I'm trying to deal with my own reaction that we need to improve communications, but if I have to go to one more meeting I'm going to burst.

Are we dealing with trying to get everyone to balance spontinaety with communication and planning -- you bet. Are we grappling with the fact that some of us have the diplomacy of a tazmanian devil -- of course. Are we dealing with broken promises, work load imbalances, and absentee members -- without a doubt. We even have people who moved in and quickly realized they had under estimated the impact of so much change all at once.

On the other hand, Dee and Dave helped us move here, Tina is going to be providing my son with the perfect suitcase for his trip, Kevin is going to fix my drawer, David picks up my daughter for me when I can't get back in time, Howard is going to take care of my cat when I'm gone, I bought half of Patti's car since I only need a car half of the time, and strangers think that Jane is my daughter's grandmother because of how close they are. I could go on and on and on, but I won't. These people do these things for me because I do things for them and because we are neighbors.

The most important reason that it's worth any heartache and effort is that I can open my door, whenever I want, and I have all the company I could ever want. I walk outside and can find people to talk to nearly any time. On the few occaissions there was noone around, I simply make "visits." I stop by to see how my friends are doing, get myself a free cup of tea and they appreciate that I cared enough to visit them. An all around win:win.

I had NONE of this before last summer. Moving here has been a complete, utter and wonderful change for me and my family.

Jeanne Goodman
Jamaica Plain Cohousing,
Boston, MA

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