“It’s the best thing I’ve done for myself in years.” This is what my friend Bruce said when I asked him how his plunge into share housing was going. He’s been living with his housemate for five months. Bruce is in his late fifties, divorced with grown children.
He says, “I’d been bouncing about my big, two-story house for three years ever since the kids left, feeling lonely and sorry for myself. It’s really nice that someone else is also in the house. We don’t see each other very much. There’s enough house that we can have our own parts and we are both independent.”
My first conversation with Bruce was a chance encounter at the meat case of the local supermarket. Recognizing each other from yoga class, we introduced ourselves and chatted. Out of work and worried about finances Bruce was considering having a housemate. Of course, I encouraged him to go for it, just to be sure to follow a good selection process.
Bruce found his housemate through community networks. He says Brian, “Just showed up on the radar at a time when we were both sort of desperate: me for money, Brian for an affordable place to live.” They talked, they agreed that it would work. Bruce checked on Brian’s references, both personal and employment.
How It Works
Brian is about ten years younger than Bruce. He has two upstairs rooms for living and bed room. They share space at the top of the stairs for exercising, a guest room, a library/computer space, and a full bath with shower. On the first floor, Bruce has a half bath, a private living room, and a bedroom. They share the dining room and the kitchen. Each has had dinner guests independently in the dining room and it works out fine. Bruce says, “We generally cook and eat separately – I cleared out half the fridge, freezer, and food cabinet for his use. We both like to cook, so are often sharing food, but only sit down to eat together consciously about once a month. We each take care of our own rooms and take turns cleaning the shared spaces. We don’t have a formal arrangement but it seems equally shared (until I hear otherwise). We sort of shared snow shoveling, now that I think of it, but again, no formal arrangement, just did it when it needed to be done. We do our own dishes and take out the garbage when it gets full. I usually have done all the yard work, so we’ll see how that pans out – this will be the first summer together. “
They see each other most days and chat for fifteen or twenty minutes. Outside the house they lead completely independent lives with different interests and friends.
That’s how it works for Bruce and Brian.
Would it work for you? Could sharing housing be the best thing you do for yourself in years? Why? Why not?