Dear friends,

I couldn’t complete this journey without saying thank you to all of you who’ve been following the Shedder’s blog – some of you since last April when I posted the first chapter. I’ve appreciated your support and your comments…really, I’ve loved just knowing you’re out there and interested in our adventure.

The project began early in the year when I commenced a heavy Shedders edit, wanting to give the story a more personal flavour than in its first draft – and decided to use the serialisation structure to commit me to this fairly confronting task. But once I got my head around the technology, I found I really enjoyed the whole process. Some chapters came easily and some gave me a headache right down the moment of pressing the “Publish” button (those tended to be the ones where I revealed the most about myself). And your comments, whether in person, by email or on the blog, fuelled me every step of the way. The final chapter was done last weekend from the Gold Coast (on the way home from Rick’s and my road trip to Cairns to view the solar eclipse), where I scraped a post onto Rick’s little iPad for the first time, and managed to get it edited and published on my usual Saturday schedule. There was champagne.

What’s next? I plan now to publish on Amazon – so you can finally buy an e-copy for all your friends who are reaching retirement age, who talk about co-housing, or who would just plain enjoy reading about the ups and downs of our social dynamics. I’m also considering a new blog, something in the vein of “The Shedders Age”, about life in our household, three years on.

If you’ve enjoyed the ride and the story, I’d love it if you’d write a two or three sentence “review” that I can use in promoting the book from here on. I’d also appreciate any suggestions you have either about the book or about publication.

Finally, my deepest thanks to a lot of people who’ve been stalwarts in the project. For example, to Eve, whose sense of words, of vision and of discipline has been invaluable in the writing and editing process. To Leslie, who brought such a warm, adroit, experienced and professional eye. To Di for tireless proofreading (though I still managed to sneak the odd missspel by her). To Rick for insights, infinite patience and deep partnership.

And thanks mostly to my good mates the Shedders, who contributed ideas, kept me on track and corrected the odd bit of dialogue or statistic where my photographic and infallible memory differed from their own photographic and infallible memories. You are fellow travellers with whom the adventure is unbelievably great.


13 thoughts on “Afterword

  1. I’m so glad you didn’t end it with “and they lived happily ever after”. I was at a wedding once when the minister said to the couple “when trouble comes, and it will”… Dear dear Heather, use any words I have said, and put it in your words, to promote your book for publication……. all I can say is Thank you for sharing your experiences with us, I loved every word….. JOyce, doesn’t it get you right here [ thump your heart]. when your kids do something extraordinary and you are so proud you could burst???

    Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2012 23:44:53 +0000 To:

  2. “This intimate and engaging story of three couples and their ‘intentional retirement community’ inspired my wife and me to start thinking of shared housing in our own future. That’s saying something after a lifetime of zealously guarding our privacy. Reading these pages, one can feel the tremendous value inherent in this kind of community – and get some great ideas on meeting the challenges! The real-life characters jump off the pages. I’ve read it twice and I will read it again. This could the most important book in your retirement library, … and it’s a darn good read!” — Paul Miniato, founder “South Delta Free at 55”

    Howzat?! Feel free to let me know if you need some of the grammar reworked – I’m feeling rather ungrammatical this evening. And use the affiliation or not, or suggest an alternate one if you like.


  3. Heather Bolstler is a Legend. Very few people could go through this whole process and THEN write about it so well and so openly. I’m sure many of us would like to move in with the Shedders or at least have them advise us if we ever decided to do something similar. What a group of inspiring, intelligent people – and yet so prepared to share their fallibility (is that a word? Heather will know). I will miss the weekly update – so get started on the next book asap Heather!
    Anne K-F xxx

  4. “Many of us have ideas about living out our old age in a utopian communal living arrangement by the sea, reading and sharing gardens and dinner, working as we please when we please, and caring for each other. If this is your dream, then this is the book for you! It outlines the dos, don’ts and definites!
    This book took me on a journey that was both confronting, honest and gave me a blue print to ponder as retirement draws closer.
    Reading Shedders gave me faith that I don’t have to sink into old age like our parents or grandparents did! It is a great instruction manual of how to retire from work, but not from life!”
    Thanks Heather
    XXX Gail

  5. Hi HB,

    Your stories each week have transported me into a world beyond my own, allowing me to escape everyday life into a motivating and inspiring world of anything is possible. Thanks for sharing! I’ve loved the journey…


  6. I have enjoyed reading and keeping up to date with your escapades in starting a retirement lifestyle neither Rod or I had ever contemplated. It has made us appreciate all the hard work that was required to be able to bring six people to a consensus on so many different matters. Each of these was so important to the overall success of your final retirement plans and you seemed to have gotten each of them right with flying colors. Hope to keep updated – Chris & Rod

  7. This comment from Ian: “An insightful, honest story about how three couples managed to overcome a variety of obstacles to create an unusual but successful country oasis, where they all live in harmony. Beautifully written and fascinating to read I thoroughly enjoyed every episode and would like to see more of Heather’s work”.

    Ian Rowland – Mitchells Island, NSW.

  8. Having been on the periphery at the earliest stages of this adventure, my thoughts about it in connection with the people I knew taking part were limited… So limited, it wasn’t till invitation to steer some of the garden space around the house at Mitchells Island into a better combination, that I came to get a good “visual” on who these “Shedders” really were, (Eve the stand out exception having been my yoga teacher for 15 consecutive years prior..).

    At closer proximity it was easy to see how this particular combination of people was definitely going to work for them in a share household… unswervingly generous as they all are to each other and completely unafraid to show great human kindness when its most needed, with respectful restraint required to save anyone feeling crowded.

    These qualities are as important as the nails and adhesives that hold that house together, for without them they would just be six indifferent people on the same floor plan sheltering from the looming possibility of retirement homes and a life less lived. Instead, when I go there I see they each have a rare understanding of each others “ways”, (good & bad) fueled by love,
    burning brightly beneath what happens every day … It makes me happy to think of them there and I hope I can be half as lucky and peaceful as all their hard work together has brought to them. THEY have certainly “done the work” on themselves and the house –
    they are all such kool cats !!!

    • What a beautiful comment, Peter. Something for us to live up to!
      However, nothing is as beautiful as the gardens you have designed for us. They redefine “the gift that keeps on giving”.

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