Two weeks post-conference, it is a good time to reflect. The learnings and experiences have had time to settle. What stands out for me are the people. You might think that as a busy staff person, the strongest memories would be of the work, but they aren’t. The strongest memories by far are of hugs, laughter, passion, and connection.
Cohousers (the word we’ve made up to refer to those who live this way or want to live this way) are amazing. They are kind, intelligent, thoughtful, and generous. There were moments at conference when it was all but impossible to get where I was going because I kept running into really wonderful people with whom a “hi” and a quick hug just wasn’t enough. It got me thinking: Why is it that this movement has so many really amazing people? I think there are a couple of reasons.
First, cohousing attracts incredible people. People who are collaborative and compassionate are naturally drawn to a life of sharing and caring for our planet and for each other. Sure, every community has an occasional curmudgeon, but even they are usually pretty sweet underneath. It takes a certain kind of heart to choose this life and we’re lucky to have cohousing to draw us together.
More than that though, I think cohousing makes us better people. Living together reveals our rough edges - the parts of us that aren’t as collaborative or productive or inviting as we would like to be - and it helps us smooth them out, grow into our best selves, and become people who can live our values more fully. Sometimes we live our values better because it is easier to share and care in community than in mainstream America. Common meals and work days give us steady practice doing for others. Other times we live into our values because cohousing is hard, and it challenges us to dig deep and grow into the values we aspire to.
Cohousers are the kind of people who love a keynote that not only praises our mission, but also provokes us to be more for those who need the most. (Thank you Courtney Martin.) They are the kind of people who welcome professionals in their same field as friends rather than competitors. They are the kind of people who share what they know, as much or as little as that may be, with the next person to come along. Cohousiers are amazing, and I’m so glad there are getting to be more and more of them.