Shedders: The serialised story of how 6 urban revolutionaries rewrote the manual on retirement

I started this project with the intention of being anonymous.  I don’t know why, it just seemed like a good idea at the time.  I’ve become less anonymous as time has gone on.  I’ve become Daniel rather than just Chaostica and I’ve mentioned Eve by name.  My friends, of course, know who I am.  And since I started the Anti-Anti-Vaccine Campaign (here, here and here) my full name has appeared because all of that is Facebook based and Facebook knows who I am.  Besides, anonymity and privacy are illusory these days.  I’m not that hard to track down.

So I’m going to more fully out myself today by including links to Shedders, the book by Heather Bolstler.  I live with Eve and two other couples on a property on the Mid-North Coast of New South Wales, Australia.  The book is a well written, warts and all, telling of the story of how that came to be.

We are all in our sixties.  We had all been wondering about this mythical thing called retirement, and what follows it.  The pictures we had of growing older in the twenty first century had not been pretty.  Certainly the early parts of retirement sound fine – have everything you ever did but no more work.  Can’t argue with that.  But we have to face that, contrary to the strongly held conviction of most baby boomers, we’re going to slow down eventually.  And then what?  Where will we live? What will we do with ourselves? Where will we find a community that will work with us?

We decided that we’d move to the country and build a big house for all of us. Why? We figured we couldn’t afford to retire in the city.  None of us had that kind of money.  So the country sounded good from a financial point of view, but the country is the sort of place that takes a while to settle into.  For quite a while we’d be likely to feel pretty isolated.  Lots of people we’ve known moved to the country just to return to the city within a couple of years because they simply felt too alone.  So we decided to band together and provide ourselves with a built in community.  And, over a seven year period, we’ve done that.

Lots of people dream of doing retirement differently.  We’ve talked to lots of people who’ve had the same idea as we did.  We haven’t met very many people who have pulled it off.  It’s not easy. There are issues of compatibility, conflict resolution, timing, money and many bumps in the road.  Somehow we traversed them all and now live in a beautiful big house purpose designed for our needs.

Heather is half of one of the couples in our community.  Over the last two years she has written and re-written our story.  She has decided to make it available in serialised form on the innerwebs.  It’s good.  It’s worth a read.  It can be inspiring if you’re wondering about how to approach retirement.  If, in your twenties or thirties you shared a house with anyone, chances are you swore you’d never do it again, you may find this an unappealing idea.  We were all extremely hesitant at the beginning.  But we overcame our resistance, and it’s worked out well so far.  It’s been an interesting journey.

Here are links to the chapter that have been posted thus far. 

There’s a long way to go.  There will eventually be 23 chapters, a postscript and more. 

If you come along for the ride, let me know what you think.  


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