LAST WEEK, WHILE FORAGING FOR THINGS SPECIAL AND RARE FOR MY READERS, I DISCOVERED a video link to Nikki Silva, a woman I suppose to be about my age who talks about her “commune.” Though she and the others there never called it communal living, I like the idea and I think Nikki and her pals are pioneers of something we need to rethink—especially today.

Call it whatever you want, but in these stressful days of our tenuous world situation, health care costs gone amok, an economy on the brink of collapse, why don’t more close friends (families) go in together and live in a collective compound? There, you can grow vegetables, help each other as you grow older, find a collective solution to the high expense of survival. I am thinking, like Nikki and her group, find a plot of land of 10 or 20 acres—build your individual homes around a central spot. This doesn’t mean you give up all you have worked for, but you agree to build sustainable homes, limit your footprint on the earth and live with an extended network of friends who are there for each other.

It’s like having all of your best friends and family living in the same cul-de-sac (only cooler!). Living communally means you have a common bond to care and watch out for each other. Yes, I am a bit of a dreamer, I guess.

The skeptic in me is smart enough to ask: “what about the couple who divorces? What about the husband who won’t help out in the garden?” Well, there’s an app for that.

It’s called rules. Husband doesn’t want to do gardening—he mows the yards, or shovels snow in the winter. Getting a divorce? Sorry, life goes on. So, who’s leaving the compound? You just work hard to find the right friends from the get go. I think the plan has a better chance of survival if all couples are nearing retirement age, say in your mid-fifties. That way, most of your crazy, youthful junk is behind you. And, now, in your own private retirement “community,” if you fall and can’t get up there’s always someone nearby to help.

I know. You are either laughing right now at my idealistic plan or you are thinking “hmm-m, sounds like an idea. What if-f-f....”

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