We Meant It When We Said It – Communal Living Can Work

As a parent I’ve always had a hard time dismissing the feelings or opinions of my daughters with the all-purpose “kids, or “teenagers,” or “millennials,” as if to say, “what do they know; they’re just saying what they’re saying because they’re [fill in the age or stage of life that they’re in]. Sure, experience continues to shape us, and our outlooks change as we grow older, but I firmly believe that much of who we are and most of what we fundamentally believe and value is formed in our early years and remains as our core throughout life. Just because someone is young or inexperienced does not mean, necessarily, that what she says is stupid or that she will “take it back” when she grows older.

Take communes as one example. So many Baby Boomers experimented with that living model when they were in their late teen or early adult years. Most eventually went on to more conventional forms of lifestyle. But does that mean that what they believed or hoped for in the communal living experience was just plain stupid or wrong? Or did it simply mean that the model stopped serving their needs – for the time being – as they moved through later stages of life?

Now that we’re no longer raising children or building businesses or careers from the ground up, many Boomers are moving back toward the commune idea. A growing number of the over-50 population are forming large-scale communes just like the days of the 60s and 70s, or sharing homes with a half dozen people – a kind of mini commune – or choosing to move in with a roommate rather than live alone. The point is that, rather than sifting into lonely solitude as we age or signing up for corporate-run retirement communities, Boomers seem to be coming back to the idea of throwing their lot in with others, and striving for independent living and self-sufficiency on their own terms.


Boomers are trailblazers; we do things our own way. Check out this article on an intentionally designed commune in Australia that Brendan Foley formed about a year and a half ago. Case in point.

True, we were young back when we first expressed our belief that we could share and cooperate and support one another as a community, but as it turns out, it looks like we meant what we said.

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