613.260.3256 Erin@ErinScullion.com


It’s done. The decision results from several stars and planets aligning but I blame the tipping point on two things. One: a recent essay in the Globe and Mail by Doug Tindal, “As my friends and I grow older, we’re setting our sights on communal living. And two, my recent foray into a private-sector assignment from my federal government job, a job I have been hanging on to by the skin of my teeth for 11 years.

Yes, the government job pays well. Very well. Yes, the job security, the benefits and hours are good. And yes, it’s going to be hard to retire on a below-the-poverty-line income. But the toll on the psyche is simply not worth it.

After working for just 10 weeks in the private sector, I have discovered that not only am I talented, I’m appreciated and recognized for it. “This is fantastic.” “Great.” “Fabulous job.” I’ve checked my hearing and looked into the sense of humor of the people who are coming out with these words. My hearing is fine and they’re really not kidding.

So, what does this all mean? It means that in order to retire in a year when I turn 60 with my little 12-year pension, we have to downsize our living quarters and expenses significantly. Which brings me to the point of this blog, which is to announce that I am on a quest to form, find or join some kind of co-operative housing enterprise.

I have spent the last 11 years of my life tied up in knots working for the federal government. I’ve clung to my job because of money, and that need for money is a result of  bad financial planning and management. Read: we have no retirement savings. (And yes, I know we’re not alone, but that doesn’t make me feel better). Now, there is obviously nothing wrong with being motivated by money. We all need it to survive, and more so as we age. Our capacity for work diminishes and our tolerance for bullshit circles the drain faster and faster.  As my wise husband says, “money may not buy you happiness but it can buy you a better quality of unhappiness.” Fair enough.

But as we age (I’m hitting 59 next month and Doug will celebrate 70 years in January) the proximity of the end picks up speed. And I for one do not want to spend the time I have left dying a slow death by other people’s poison.

For that reason, it’s time to downsize and pool resources with like-minded people who are interested in living “Together but Apart.” That’s the name of my new project.

All suggestions, directions to research material, questions and previous experience welcomed. I’ll be sharing the journey through this blog as we move along.

You can follow Doug Tindal’s journey here: https://wineontheporch.wordpress.com/