Four Months In — What Have I Learned?

First, I have to say I love it here! I was not at all sure I would. Two-and-a-half years of lots of meetings and large potlucks, with little time for one-on-one relating, had made me wonder if I was making a big mistake.

Plus, I was giving up a to-die-for view of the river for a view of a roof-top, stone wall, and cell phone tower.

But I learned that it’s not the big things I love — the beautiful rooms, lots of community spaces, the classy furniture and design — but the casualness of easy encounters. Want a cup of coffee? Want to go for walk?

How’s so and so doing? Can I borrow your vacuum cleaner? These are priceless, and among folks who want to live together, that much more special.

The dinners are fun, though a lot of work if you’re cooking. But again, it’s the grocery shopping you may do with a new friend, the folks who help with the cooking and set-up, and those who stay to clean up that enrich the experience. At dinner, sitting with people you haven’t talked with very much gives new opportunities for building relationships. Shared work provides another way to get to know folks in a casual manner — cleaning the exercise room, committee meetings in comfortable settings, planning an event, and more.

If you loved dorm life in college, you’d likely love living in a senior cohousing development. Here, it feels like a luxurious form of dorm life, with your own fully equipped apartment and lots more shared space. You have autonomy plus the easy camaraderie that happened during college years. Spontaneously getting together for coffee, a walk or a movie brings back memories of similar experiences more than 40 years ago.

All types of studies demonstrate that the power of living in community contributes to one’s health, especially as one ages. At PDX Commons there’s a sense of community, safety and caring that is priceless.

Category: stories from the trenches

Tags: Aging, common meals, Connecting, Food, living in cohousing, Stories

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