30 January 2009

Living in Community

I've long had an interest in communal living. Maybe it's my background as a child of the '60's and '70's, living just outside of Boulder, Colorado!

At the moment we live in a commune of sorts. Well, actually, what I'm talking about is my own family. We have three children still at home ages 17, 24 and 26. We've never been in much of a hurry to boot them out and make them feel like they need to get a "place of their own". They are delightful young adults and we'll miss the heck out of them when they're gone. So right now we're just enjoying their company, knowing that these days are numbered.

We have two weddings looming. Our 24 year old son's in April and our 17 (by then 18) year old daughter's in May. Chances are that our 26 year old son will move out when everyone else does. Instant empty nest.

Our sons have had jobs since age 12 and have paid most of their own expenses since then. Everything from clothes to toys, cars, insurance, gas, food while they're working and as they got older they've contributed to the family kitty. It's all worked out pretty well.

So, why am I writing about communal living? It seems to me that in this age of recession and economic shortages it just doesn't make sense for every individual to attempt to maintain a separate residence with all that entails. Communal living can take many different shapes, (Just Google it and find out!) from large housing developments, to kibbutzim, to an extended family sharing a house. It just seems like an idea whose time has come...again.

My mom worked for IBM many years ago, and she had the opportunity to visit with people from various countries. She told me about a gentleman, I believe he was from Spain, who told her he just didn't understand Americans. Why do they kick their children out of the home when they turn the magic age of 18? Where he lives the children remain at home and perhaps additional space is added to the home. Hmmm...

In America there is a real stigma attached to that sort of thing. You hear phrases such as "Oh, he lives in his mother's basement", or words such as "compound" and just a general feeling that large groups of people living together must necessarily be involved in some evil undertaking. Yes, some of them are...but then, there are a lot of serial killers out there living all alone. You just can't judge everyone by the actions of a few.

My daughter and her fiance plan to rent a two story farmhouse and rent out two of the bedrooms. Sounds like living in community to me! It might not be a bad idea to take a page from their book if we want to get through these difficult economic times with a little money in our pockets. And we might learn to get along with others a little better in the bargain. =0


  1. This is an interesting point, living in a community can mean different things. For 8 years my husband, two daughters, my mother and I all lived together. We bought a farmhouse to hold all of us. It worked, actually it was lovely. If I could have what I want, I would have property with three houses one for us and two for our daughters. Now that would be heaven. Clarice

  2. Sounds heavenly to me, Clarice! Thanks for visiting!

  3. It is a very interesting concept. I could easily do that with my daughters but it never could have happened with the personalities of my dad and husband....sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. lol Dianntha