I didn’t ever live in a commune. I visited a few in the 1970’s in California, Massachusetts and Vermont. But the lifestyle just didn’t do it for me. A bit too cozy? Too “hippy”? Too smiley? Too many vegetables? Who knows. But, it did occur to me recently that people over, say 60, could actually start to think through the benefits of communal living to share costs, space and to connect. As many people realize, it gets harder and harder to connect once you’ve gotten past college, having kids in school and even moving around the country. It is simply more difficult to make close friends.
So, when I saw the article “Baby boomers may opt for communal living again” I did a Huh! Like, why not?
The article points out that we are witnessing a significant societal shift: millions of people are heading to 65+ (10,000 turn 65+ every day), they don’t live near their kids and they want independence. But, that independence does not have to mean living alone (or, oh shit, in a retirement home.)
Baby Boomers said that they were going to change the world. Well, they are: “By force of sheer volume, the (baby boomers) who in 1968 thought they would change the world by 2028 actually will,” said Andrew Carle, founding director of the Program in Senior Housing Administration at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.
What might I want in a communal experience?
Scenario 1: I see myself living in a tropical land (Chiang Mai Thailand?; San Miguel de Allende Mexico) in my own cabin in a chain of cabins that share communal services. Food, gardening, media…. brains, conversation, who knows.
Scenario 2: I live in an apartment in a large house in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg. This one is a bit more about intellectual stimulation.
The bottom line is that my buddies and I could share some universal services, living costs and laughs. Sure sounds better than moving into Happy Acres Nursing Home.