Re: Disallusioned with cohousing
From: Jean Reese (
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2006 09:09:15 -0700 (PDT)

I would add that we had many problems and many things to work out in our first five or six years. Most of those things are settled now and we efficiently work through our issues in monthly two hour meetings (20 hours/year, with occasional special meetings). Many people who caused "trouble" in our first few years ended up moving after they couldn't get the community to do what they wanted (my perspective). Those of us who remained have managed to get along quite well, resolve our issues, have an efficient meal rotation system and good work days. Stick with it and you will never want to live anywhere else.

Westwood Cohousing -- where my family has lived for almost ten years now

----- Original Message ----- From: "Jeanne Goodman, JP Cohousing" <goodmanj [at]>
To: "Cohousing-L" <cohousing-l [at]>
Sent: Tuesday, June 27, 2006 10:58 AM
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Disallusioned with cohousing

----- 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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