Here is a blog idea I had while I was still living there – it’s still negative. I was starting to see some patterns.
I noticed how hard it is to give up control to other people. I was on certain committees and not others. Anyone can go to committee meetings at any time and I did go to grounds one time when they were making a decision that would have made a difference to my family. But in general I noticed that, at least in my head, I had ideas on how other committees should do something. That’s one good thing about cohousing – letting go of control. The flip side is that it can be hard if it effects you in ways you didn’t want. I guess then it’d go back to the plenary meeting.
We were a new community and trying to be so nice and get along. Which meant some people didn’t know how to say no. I asked one couple if they’d help me on a project that only they could help with. They agreed. They kept saying they’d be there and then on the day of the zoom meeting (this was even before COVID) they just didn’t show. I never mentioned it and they never did either. I just made a note to remember that for next time if I needed a commitment form them. You get to know all parts of your neighbors as they found out my faults too. Unfortunately for me, my mistakes were unforgivable to them and it seemed hopeless for me to stay.
Another frustrating things were the blockers. I”m not talking about the big bad blocks at a plenary meeting for a proposal but the gate keepers. For some projects, we had to go through those who control the website or the blog or whatever. If they took their sweet time or rejected something, that was that and your work hours went in the trash. It was disheartening but I think eventually they didn’t like being in charge of so much and they gave up the passwords so people can post themselves. When I heard a proposal that someone could swipe things off the email list if they found it “reactional” I about burst an artery. Censorship anyone? Some of the best, most honest, and best discussions came from some email that others reacted to.
The biggest problem has been lack of transparency and it still goes on. Sure, there are meeting notes to all committees but some take awhile, if ever, to post. I still can’t figure out how the budget is made and how to question it before a big, bad block is necessary. And the spending has never been shared with everyone so even though we have made a budget a few years now, it is still based on guessing what will be spent. Seems crazy. And some big decisions somehow got made without much input but maybe I missed the special committee on that. Not that I didn’t enjoy the results, but the lack of communication was surprising.
These are some things I noticed in our developing community. As it gets bigger and older, I’m sure things will get better.
It’s Memorial Day so I have good memories of the last holiday there that went well. I don’t think we did anything but there was a birthday party for a member and that was a fun night. The last time all went well for me and my family. June came along and bad stuff happened and then worse stuff. So that party was fun. Of course, the next day, a member told us it was too noisy and then a week later that they were leaving (though not totally connected). They were the first to announce leaving and it sent shock waves. They just realized cohousing wasn’t for them. But cohousing was for me and yet, I ended up moving out before they did.
Life sure twists and turns and gives you lemons. But the other night I was at a party here at my new house and met people who have some of the same goals I do. I saw the synchronicity because I was reading a book about my goal and it said to meet people with the same ones and there they were. Life gives you lemons, but at that party, I found the lemonade.
Things happen for a reason. That cohousing community wasn’t for me, but something bigger is and this Memorial Day I’m surrounded by beach and fun. I can’t complain about that.