Who would have guessed I would be selling my house and moving interstate at the age of 74?
I thought my house was a ‘forever home’ but over the past year or so I’ve felt 'it’s time to move … all is complete here and there’s somewhere else I need to be'. But where that was, I had no idea. What I did know was that I no longer wanted to live on my own. It had been too long and I wanted to share.
So here I am. As soon as I arrived, I could sense that this was it. I liked it. It was nothing like what I would have pictured or imagined, but there was a settlement in me that told me ‘this is it’.
Living together with my two friends, husband and wife, who are also in their seventies, has been amazingly harmonious and beautiful. We quickly found a rhythm of living and moving about the house together without having to establish ‘rules’ or ‘agreements’. We have found an easy rhythm around shopping, cooking, cleaning, washing, all the usual household tasks that have to be done without having to discuss how we would do it. It has found its own rhythm. We don’t seem to be getting on each other’s nerves and check in from time to time to make sure there’s nothing not being said. I feel extremely well cared for in this loving and nurturing, harmonious environment.
If I look back to my earlier life, I shared house innumerable times with innumerable people when I was younger … and there was always tension. Although we had some good times, in reality, none of us found it easy to be together without judgement and comparison, and only managed by having stretches of time apart, either by going out or (in my case) retreating to the bedroom ... or when it became intolerable, asking people to leave.
But this is different. Our movements are gentle and harmonious. We don’t get in each other’s way and we’re not looking sideways at each other, checking who has contributed and who hasn’t, who’s done the most cooking, the most cleaning, the most shopping and who is contributing the least. We each go about what we feel needs to be done. We have very little conversation about it, except checking in at dinner time. We don’t have a budget for shopping and we don’t divvy up the spoils, but whoever feels to will go out for groceries and fresh food when they feel it is needed. And amazingly, this works!
When we cook together we simply step in and do what is needed. One might decide on a main course and the other will suggest salads or vegetables to accompany it, and then we quietly set to work. There are no rules, no divvying up of tasks, no one is in charge, no task is greater and no task is lesser. Setting the table is as valued as cooking a roast dinner! It’s all part of what’s needed to come together for a meal.
And there are no squabbles about washing up. Whoever feels the impulse will get up and do it, or all of us together will contribute to clearing the table, rinsing the dishes, stacking the dishwasher, cleaning the pots and pans and wiping down the benches. It all gets done with an easy flow.
We are also something of a curiosity to family and some of our friends who happily accept that I would be living with my friend but then there’s the question “… and her husband?!” I have to admit I wasn’t sure how that would be either, but it’s been easy. He is a gentle, easy going, generous, caring man who enjoys people and welcomes me as part of the family. There is a quality of equality in our relationship, all three of us, and a harmony I never anticipated.
I could question that life should be so easy, but instead accept the blessing of it and feel a deep settlement in myself. To live with others in equality and harmony is indeed a blessing. This is true family.
Judy F., Australia
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