Which pigeon-hole would you prefer calling your forever home?
OMG; is it imitating an army barrack?
Would you rather maintain your identity in a humanized community that places people before investor profits or cars (which may rarely be used 2 or 3 hours a week in your retirement)?
Get closer to nature; have frequent & pleasant collisions with your neighbors, smell more flowers, grow veggies, sip some tea (or beer/wine if that is your cup). Make lasting memories @ the common house, in the courtyard garden, on your porch, @ mailboxes, bike/walking trails, on tree swings etc.
Outcast the cars like you leave your shoes @ the door; the short walk home would be good for you! You don't have to be an automobile parasite sleeping with your car (attached garages). Instead why not share chauffeur driven limo with your buddies, you deserve it or ride an UBER-cab!
You can forget about gas price hikes, insurance, maintenance or the redundant greyscape infrastructure (access roads, driveways, garages, parking); if you snip the umbilical cord.
Downsize your personal space (where you just go to sleep or for some intentional quiet time) & maximize the common social areas where you laugh away your loneliness ordepression.
Meditation retreat @ Southern California Vipassana Center (Goenka)
Here is the tiny cavelike room I crawled into for 10 days with no TV, computer, phones, books, diaries etc. The room was practically just a 5'X10' passage to the bathroom (lucky me, I got an attached bathroom), with a 3'6"X5'6" alcove with a twin size mattress on a hard platform. Twelve hour introspective meditations in noble silence every day from four in the morning to nine @ night!
Unlike the Buddhist monks we did not have to go out & beg for food, simple meals were provided through the generosity of previous meditators. There is no money collected upfront or you can not even donate money to the center unless you have taken the Dhamma path yourself for ten days first! So you are depending on charity of others for your meals, accommodations & the facility!
Obviously when your motivation is anything other than enlightenment (like bliss or just plain pain alleviation in my case) all you would find is more pain & disappointment! Far from being equanimous; I was obsessed with cravings & aversions! Who knows, may be with time & practice the miracle of "Dukhkha jaye tanik tanik" may happen some day!
Here is a neat little set up @ the front of the modest buffet lines for pre-dishwashing that all cohousing common dining areas should adopt. The sink in the center has a foot operated spigot & a large strainer for food scraps. On the left are bins for composting & trash, a scrubbing brush in a soapy pail & on the right trays for dishes, bowls & cups, the bin for scrubbed silverware is in the middle right behind the spigot (not all trays & bins are in the picture here).
The Las Vegas Seniors meet on the fourth Saturday of the month @ the temple now & are getting serious about raising funds. Will post more info on it in a couple of days.
Can you imagine Indian seniors living in a retirement village as happy as this? Mind you this is not a promotional video shot with actors; but residents & staff creating one for friends & family! They have assisted living & care options in addition to independent living. Look up their website @
We are "homo sapiens" social animals thriving in groups (except for Robinson Crusoe like characters surviving on their islands by themselves).
So how did we end up turning into these pathetic paranoid creatures; prisoners in our own homes?
Need the social media to be social!
Dreaming of living in your own castle sanctuary as far away from the city as you can afford; with the freedom afforded by your chariots?
Replicate that vision a few hundred times in a neighborhood & you have your suburban sprawling subdivision. Do you know your neighbor living next door? Does it matter to you or are you content with the illusive safety of your second amendment rights & your ammo stockpile?
Henry Ford mass-produced cars using the assembly line business model during the industrial age & it fostered sprawling suburbs with cookie cutter homes constructed similarly! The cars that were supposed to be our slaves "Transformed" into our masters!
Our homes, neighborhoods even cities & the nation are designed & built primarily with cars, vehicular movements, traffic studies, infrastructure etc. taking priority over human beings. The industrial revolution is long gone & we live in the information age now yet we dwell in these snout houses designed for cars. Living our pathetic zombie like existence sitting in front of a TV with a beer in one hand & the remote in the other or may be staring @ a digital computer/smartphone/ipad screen! Where is the "homo sapien"?
Would you be content living anonymously in a builder/developer designed speculative home for what may be the last couple of decades of your life?
Consider the exponential power of Metcalfe's "Network Effect"!
If you are the first person buying a fax machine, and none of your friends, family, associates, business partners, colleagues, vendors, suppliers have them then you might as well trash it; since it would be useless for you. Two people buying fax machines would share one connection, five would have ten connections, a dozen would have potential for sixty six & so on!
You will not hear a tree falling in a jungle, if you are not there no matter how thunderous the sound. It is only when more & more of your tribal members old or new, start interacting & spreading your "Idea Virus"(Seth Godin); it will gain any kind of momentum. Is your idea VIRAL?
Traditional interruption marketing (TV commercials, print ads etc.) is obsolete since we have all learned to ignore it. You need permission based marketing like Apple announcing it's new products over a two hour event, you would be dying to watch it; if you are their fan! In fact having to do anything else (like work) during the webcast would be an annoyance for you.
Check out this genius marketing video for Google search. If you are an Indian or Pakistani senior citizen, who grew up during the partition; see if you can resist the urge to share it with your friends your age:
If you are a Trekkie / Potterhead or a Whovian how long can you keep any news about Star trek / Harry Potter / Doctor Who to yourself?
Where in the world is your Shangrila, your Vrindavan, your Gokul?
Is it just an imaginary place? You bet it is! It lives in your heart & soul & in your dreams. After all of your hard work & toil & a never ending quest; will you let a builder or investor design-build it for you? Will you settle for just a "good enough" model for your "forever home"?
You think asking builders successful in building senior communities (with close to 20,000 homes) you can't go wrong, right? Sure if you wish to live in an anonymous suburban sprawl! It probably won't look much different from where you live now (may be with a clubhouse thrown in); so why bother moving then?
If you said Indian neighbors, think again. If you are seeking investors as well as winter birds just to fill the spots, how cohesive your community would be? For them it would be more or less an extended stay time-share kind of environment! Then again we are all transients in this world (what a morbid thought)! Why be fussy over just a shelter; though it may very well be your last one?
If your home is your castle (may be not as ugly as in this picture) & your car your chariot for freedom; you have unfortunately turned into a redneck American! With that kind of mentality you may need to exercise your second amendment rights & buy a gun or two as well! Imagine living with neighbors who think just like you & replicating their castles up & down the street. Hell of a neighborhood it would be, right? Cohousing community would be a bad choice for you in that case!
Or you could end up in one of the cartoonish homes you were drawing up in second or third grade! They would be frugal. You are shooting for $80 per square foot cost, are you not?
OMG what happened to your lifelong dreams of living in your Vrindavan?
Here is an interesting take on the modern marketing guru Seth Godin's suggestion for positioning your project. Most retirement communities here in Las Vegas valley built by Pulte & Del Webb are in the active adult semi-expensive quadrant whereas most Indian retirement homes anywhere in USA or India strive for a luxurious resort like all inclusive lifestyle!
Ask any Indian senior about retirement community & the first question you will hear is: how much is it followed by what does it include? We want to be pampered & preened & fed & taken care of, yet we are reluctant to pay! Precisely the reason why most of the projects (shown with a grey background) have failed to materialize even after 5-7 years of efforts! Can you build the Taj Mahal on a budget for a big box store like Walmart?
Would it not be prudent to seek a spot on the quadrant that is not crowded? You could add the bells & whistles later down the road if necessary. Can you see the quadrants with least competition / resistance? obviously the graphic is not to any kind of scale.
Wouldn't it be great to recreate a carefree, fun filled community lifestyle of your college dorm-days? Frugal wasn't all that bad; was it? Recall the camaraderie? Bet you remember most of your tribe very fondly!
If an all-inclusive resort is prohibitively expensive; a cluster of tiny cottages with shared common spaces & optional services (meals, maid & maintenance) may be ideal. Social security alone may not provide the economic blanket needed, collaborative consumption may be the solution.
Sharing is caring
A retirement "resort" would attract more consumers, investors, transients (winter-birds) then people looking for their forever home "sanctuary"! It would just be a hospitality business, not a close knit community; even if it is "not for profit". If it is not social, why bother?