Coworking, coliving, coloving

I’ve always had an interest in offbeat points of view and alternative lifestyles. Inspired by the sharing economy, I want to explore a few ideas and possibilities to build a better life, applied to the three most important aspects of our lives: the work that we do, the house that we live in and the relationships that we build.

Coworking

Unlike a typical office environment, a coworking space is occupied with people from different organizations. It’s typically attractive for freelancers, lifestyle entrepreneurs and people who travel frequently or work from home in relative isolation. But coworking is more than just sharing an office space. It’s about the coworking community first. A lot of coworking communities are built through casual coworking events to gather with people who are looking for a collaborative spirit. Coworking is mostly a social gathering of a group of people who are still working independently, but who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with people who value working in the same place alongside each other. Most coworkers are currently in their late twenties to late thirties. Two-thirds are men, one third are women. The majority of coworkers work in creative industries, new media and consultancy. Slightly more than half of all coworkers are freelancers.

However, as traditional jobs are also becoming more and more dependent on online technology, in the long run many people could benefit from these coworking spaces. Larger traditional companies are already experimenting with coworking, where employees can benefit for working location independent a few hours per week, or to travel more while working. Another hugh benefit of a coworking space instead of a fixed office space, is that it tremendously decreases all sorts of recurring maintenance costs of a traditional office building.

Coliving

A friend of mine used to live in a house with several other students. They shared a living room, kitchen, washing machine and everyone had his own private space and bedroom. They lived together to cut the costs, but there was also a community spirit. I remember when visiting their house, I loved the fact that there was always something going on. It inspired me to also join a cohousing project for a few years. I learned that living together with different kinds of people is not always easy, but the benefits of coliving seemed far greater than a few disadvantages. And of course, there was never a reason not to have a party.

Another idea on my bucket list evolved around an adventure game that my brothers used to play in the 90’s, called Leisure Suit Larry. The scene below where people are enjoying life in a top roof apartment, has always stuck with me. A few years ago, I built a small e-shop to sell these plastic bathtubs on drop delivery and put one on my own terrace for my family and friends to enjoy. To share and cut down on costs, I also invited couchsurfers to live in the spare room, rented out my place when traveling and recently opened up a room for Airbnb members. I wonder what housing project is next, but it definitely will be a lot about coliving!

Coloving

The concept of coloving, better known as polyamory, evolves around the idea that it’s possible to love more than one person, while staying in a committed relationship. There are many different types of polyamory, but it doesn’t necessarily mean acting on the idea. Many people who would consider polyamory, choose freely to stay in a monogamous relationship. It’s foremost about the idea that it’s possible. After the long struggle for marriage rights and same sex marriages, all of us deserve to live and love equally to one another. Because all loving, adult relationships are valid.

A friend of mine brought up the idea about 10 years ago and since then, it has become a hot, often wine-induced topic among friends, trying to piece together the mysteries of real love and open relationships. If you want to learn more, this book review of ‘The Ethical Slut’ is a good place to start.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. – Mark Twain