People living in cohousing are known for their tendency to gather. Sometimes it’s to plan the way forward or get other work done and other times its to celebrate. After all, life is better when there’s a balance of work and play.

The members of Compass Cohousing, while not yet living together, have found many ways to enjoy being in community. This December, we’re going to be celebrating the holiday season in person for the first time in three years. I still remember some amazing homemade fudge (Vern’s) and shortbread cookies (Loriane’s) that we shared in WindSong’s dining hall in December, 2019. I’m excited to see how things go with our much larger group this year.

As luck would have it, we won’t have to borrow space from WindSong, crowd into someone’s home or rent space for this year’s get-together. That’s because we recently became caretakers of a large single-family home on the property we will soon be building on. It’s a four-level split with a huge recreation room that should easily accommodate us all. We may need to bring our own chairs, dishes and cutlery but with all the socials we had over the spring, summer and fall, we’ve got that stuff down.

Houston Cohousing in Texas, a developing community like us, did a survey to find out what people already living in cohousing like to celebrate. Of course, there were the usual recognized holidays along with anniversaries, birthdays, graduations and everyday appreciations. But there were also quirky, eccentric celebrations. 

Caroling or fashion parades, anyone? How about pumpkin carving in the Common House before Halloween followed by pumpkin smashing (outside, I hope) in early November? I’d love to be a fly on the wall when one community does its “no talent night” where bad jokes are only one thing they encourage. 

Some communities celebrate eclipses, solstices and equinoxes. Others do campouts on their properties complete with bonfires. I’d be into Annual Pi (pie!!) Day for sure, with some regret that we couldn’t celebrate it monthly. Mind you, events that involve cooking or baking together in the common house kitchen are not rare. One community taps maple trees to make their own maple syrup while another makes apple cider every autumn. 

Potlucks associated with jamming musicians or board games are big in cohousing, while TGIF events involving snack foods are ubiquitous. Some communities enjoy story telling evenings while others invite politicians on the hustings to spend time with them.  (Do the politicians tell stories too?)

As you can see, people in cohousing communities can and do celebrate or gather around just about anything.  That’s pretty sweet when you consider how bad loneliness can be for your health. Robert Waldinger, head of a study on health and wellness spanning decades has suggested that loneliness is as powerful a predictor of health and well-being as smoking or alcoholism. In his TED talk, he shares that good relationships protect our bodies and our brains, helping us with memory as we age.

While having plenty of opportunities to connect with others is only one of the benefits of living in cohousing, it’s a big one in my opinion. Maybe even the biggest one.

Our group has grown a lot but we still have room for future neighbours. If you think we might be the right fit for you, don’t be shy. We would love to have a chance to meet you. It could be to arrange a tour of our property or for an information on Zoom.

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Langley’s New Village Opportunity

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