I heard a great story, courtesy of Wild Woman Sisterhood. No idea if it's a true tale, but it doesn't really matter - it's true in so many other ways.
It's the story about a village where all the women (naturally it was the women...) washed clothes together down by the river. When they got washing machines, there was a sudden outbreak of depression, and initially no one could figure out why. But of course the effect of having the washing machines meant the women spent less time together and had less community. Social bonds were weakened.
Our American society has promoted independence as the ultimate goal. We can do it all ourselves - no need to rely on others! We don't depend on anyone outside of our immediate families. We operate in a little bubble that may work for awhile, but when the kids are grown, and maybe we lose a life partner, what then? Naturally we all are happy that we don't have to wash our clothes by the river, but doing things together gives us a sense of belonging that is difficult to get in other ways.
This is a major reason I look forward to living in a cohousing community. I love my private time, but I look forward to cooking, gardening or just sitting and talking with my friends. Loneliness is a killer, literally as we have all heard, but it also just makes you miserable. I have no intention of living like that when cohousing exists as an alternative.