Somewhere along the way I picked up the following wisdom – human beings need three things in order to be happy:
- Someone to love
- Something to look forward to
- And being part of something bigger than themselves
My experience at Prairie Sky Cohousing, especially during covid, has demonstrated how cohousing offers all three.
I find the first piece of wisdom delightfully confounding. In our culture we are positioned to believe in order to be happy we need someone to love us, rather than the other way around. In cohousing there are people to love in abundance. Some are easier to love than others but there is always the opportunity to get better at enjoying and working with people who are not just clones of our own interests, preferences and capacities. At Prairie Sky about two thirds of the residents have a faith affiliation – Unitarian, United church, Jewish. They go to their place of worship on the weekend, where they are invited to love their neighbours, on Monday they have neighbours to love.
Being part of a cohousing community during the pandemic has certainly given me the sense of being part of something bigger than myself. The term isolation has been used to describe the experience of the pandemic over the light last six months. I would say that my experience in cohousing has been one of being embedded rather than isolated. We have had to make decisions about how to adapt to covid but still keep our community healthy; how to have regular monthly business meetings on zoom; what about common meals; what are the expectations about when we meet from a health perspective? All of these things have created stronger connections to my neighbours and a sense of knowing them better.
It has been wonderful to have something other than the new season of my favourite Netflix show as a marker in my calendar. Toward the end of March, when covid started and we were all a little freaked out, we met regularly for coffee outside in parkas and hats, two meters apart. There was always the next Zoom business meeting to anticipate, along with Zoom dinner parties. When summer came there were work bees, gardening, outdoor cocktails on Saturdays, a dance party, a high tea for Victoria Day, a Stampede event with line dancing, a talent show in the parkade due to rain, a seven year old’s birthday party, the Calgary Folk Festival through Zoom in our courtyard and coming up we have a garden party . Who knows how we will creatively shape our life in the fall as covid continues.
As many parts of my life are shifting, I am even more grateful be part of the wonderful ebb, flow and surprise of ordinary but intentional human community as it happens in my cohousing neighbourhood! Thank you neighbours!!