Another One Bites the Dust

I keep thinking about the perfect cohousing. The one that lives up to the hype. This will be your last home (and that’s how many people think as they design their houses and communities).  They are almost 10 years old and only two units have re-sold because the Grim Reaper came to get the residents.

Like I’ve said, cohousing is luck of the draw and mine is out of luck. Another one bites the dust. A family that, again, didn’t even last a year. It looked for sure they’d stay forever and enjoy their golden years in cohousing. However, an application for the peace corps submitted before COVID was finally accepted, so they are gone. I get that – I had planned to travel the world. The part I don’t understand is why they are selling their home.  On one hand I do get it – it’s a great market to sell and don’t want the hassle while overseas.  Yet it goes against the cohousing philosophy that this is supposed to be our forever home. I guess it’s just not worth it to them to rent out and return. They’ll end their peace corps life and maybe find another cohousing community or another life.  

That’s the second household that has left my previous cohousing cause the sacrifices or reality just wasn’t worth it.  The good news for me is that it makes me feel much better. For the longest time I felt rejected from the group but the truth is, I was the first to reject them and move out (one person already decided to leave before me just cause it wasn’t their thing but I”m the one who ran out hair on fire- get me out of here!).  It reminded me of the radio station I worked at and loved. One woman was hired there in the sales department and left after one day saying she hated it so much it felt like her hair was on fire. The next day the sales assistant dressed up a balloon with hair on fire colors to represent her departure. I couldn’t imagine why she would leave such an amazing opportunity to work in radio.  Now I feel the same of cohousing – I had to go, not for me. Others still think it’s the cat’s meow (the four or five households that are still there from the get go and the one that was love bombed after I left and the new owners coming in with hope in every pore).

In my community, it doesn’t work out for everyone, or many. But maybe, someday, that will change.  I asked one person who left if they would talk about it and they said “I think it’s really not necessary to disclose things that happened in the past at ______”

That’s one way we didn’t fit – me and my coho. . I believe in ruminating in what happened in the past and the present.  I know that cultures matter and I was so excited to be there from the get go to form that culture.  Yet, the culture was forming as a place that doesn’t like to look back, look forward, or look at anything. Just have some sort of Stepford Wives existence where everything is okay and Don’t talk about Bruno (aka me) or deal with real issues. So I looked around and said I”m out and, I think, the effects are being felt by others who come, and leave.

About CJ

I was a Spanish teacher for 5 years in the Public School system in 3 different states. I homeschooled and taught at a democratic free school. I heard about cohousing in 2010 and wanted to move in right away. I met a group building one in 2018 and got to move in the summer of 2019. It only took a year to want out.
This entry was posted in marketing in cohousing, moving in and out of cohousing, privacy, selling house, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Another One Bites the Dust

  1. Flower says:

    “That’s the second household that has left my previous cohousing cause the sacrifices or reality just wasn’t worth it.”

    I just read this about sacrifices and took this quote off of a cohousing discussion group about concerns. It contained excerpts that have been paraphrased.

    “There is a dynamic tension between the role of the individual and role of community. However, if you start the conversation from the point that “I (the individual) will have to sacrifice X to get community” then the conversation is doomed from the start.”

    “Privacy, space, meetings, communication are all part of working in any group. This gets more intense as you move outside our cultural bounds and move into a tighter community. This tighter community will intensify issues, but it need not be a sacrifice. If instead of a sacrifice, you look at this question as an “investment”, you start the conversation on a better footing.”

    This was also excerpted from the discussions as well:

    “To live in community is a commitment. It will only work if you are committed to working thru the issues that come up. If you make a commitment and then you invest your time, space and money into that community, you can gather a high return on your investment. You have to decide for yourself what benefits you want to gain and gather from community. And then what investments you can make in order to achieve those gains.

    If you value the freedom and autonomy of the individual over the qualities of community. And you find no reason to change your individual behavior for the benefits of the group, then you need to go back and revisit the question of what commitment you can make to a community and what you hope to gain from it.”

    I wonder about your opinion, if you have any about this discussion. I mean it all sounds good on paper or the email discussion. In real life I have my doubts.

  2. Flower says:

    Personally, I value freedom, autonomy and independence. It doesn’t mean that i don’t desire community at times. I suppose it is a matter of how much or how little. I also don’t quite get someone suggesting that the conversation is doomed from the start if an individual has concerns about what they will have to sacrifice to get community. This thinking is odd as it seems in conflict with what I know about human nature. I believe most human beings are motivated by self interest, even people who purport to be altruistic.

    Likewise, the more I read the more I’m left with perception that cohousing involves more labor, more interpersonal conflicts which place more on the line and take more work to resolve than simply being irritated by one’s neighbors–and some of my neighbors have been and are really irritating, which truthfully is an understatement. It also is more expensive, yields less free time and less quality of life due to endless meetings and maintenance, places the family at significant financial risk, is hard to get into and out of and thus yields what benefits? And one isn’t supposed to consider sacrifice? You’re supposed to look at it like it’s an investment? Why would anyone be compelled to join?

  3. CJ says:

    That is the lesson I have learned by leaving. More time for me and my family and less meetings. And I can choose who to hang out with and they tend to be people I really do enjoy instead of whoever just bought into the neighborhood. Where I live now is what I was looking for at cohousing – fun people to talk to when we bump into and now, at the beach condo, I don’t have forced meetings and more conflict because of trying to run a place together. Here is is all fun! I let the board do their thing and can care less. When there is a problem, we just talk to each other and it’s done. It doesn’t bleed out to everyone in gossip or triangulating.

  4. CJ says:

    Super interesting quote you found. It seems like same old wishful thinking. Yes, there are some cohousing neighborhoods that have the maturity and practice to make their community work well together. However, my community shows the complete opposite. People have moved in with stars in their eyes (me included) and for whatever reason, they keep moving out. Most don’t last a year and I suspect, those that stay two years were just trying to get past the tax penalty if you sell a house within two years. So, no matter what people say about cohousing whether it’s investing or sacrificing (for the good of the community), the truth is in the pudding. At my community people are leaving. No one ever tells the whole truth in my community so I cant’ know the exact reasons people left (except for myself) but even if their excuse of “not finding a job”, “not finding a daycare” (despite all the PR that that is free with cohousing), “finding a travel opportunity” “Needing more space for an aging family member”, etc The truth is – they left when the PR of cohousing says it will be worth anything and everything that comes at you! I left and another family left because of a horrible incident and for me, how the community tried to blame me for all the tensions and for trying to stop things. And, it looked like they would never forgive me for the mistake, in their eyes. Plus, I didn’t want to be part of a community that scapegoats and no one would publicly stand up to it or stand up for what they told me they believed in. So, cohousing groups can call things what they want, but those looking into moving into one should dig a little deeper and ask why people leave, and the opposite, why people stay. And who is it working for and who is it not working for? Most tend to work for wealthy, white, heterosexual people in a marriage. I also think Senior Cohousing seem to do better.

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