May 23, 2015

The changing face of my Pleasantville

So scary when I hear people talking about retirement - it freaks me out in a number of ways. Primarily because it might mean that my friends and my community will become dispersed as people are starting to sell their homes as they venture into their next 50.  The houses are sold only days after the sign is posted and large empty mansions are replacing the quaint family ranchers.

The face of the community is definitely changing and I can't say I like.  I don't like my grey hair either but it's my reality!

The houses in my community 20 years ago were filled with young families and young kids attending the local preschools (I taught at one of them for many years).  Peter Rabbit was filled with little ones clutching their own change to buy 5 cent candy (fuzzy peaches, sour keys) after school while some of their Mom's sat on the bench outside the one local coffee shop planning the next school fundraiser.  We were all balancing our lives with work, volunteerism and family.  I felt we were united.  We would host community adult baseball games (where the kids had to watch their parents) and camped together as families! To date, many of us celebrated turning 40 then 50, play on the community duffers hockey teams (Sliverbacks, Silverbellies and Stanley Cupcakes) and celebrate family university kid send off parties.  We have grown up together and I want to grow old together.

I love my community we call Pleasantville.  It is located at the base of the beautiful North Shore mountains.

If we sell our homes where would we go?

It wasn't until I read an article and posted on my social media channels, did I realize that others in my community were concerned about what retirement looked like to them as well and where they would they go?

In this story, four couples that were best friends over 20 years decide to invest in their friendship and land and work with architect Matt Garcia to build their own mini-town. They pooled their money and bought land near Llano River in Texas building 400 square foot home at a price tag of $40K each.  There are so many stories of similar boomer co-housing communities popping up which were first popular in Europe.

The new model looks more like something between the single-family world and the hippie communes.  Mostly boomers and empty-nesters, come together with their own unit but sharing resources.  I would get Jim West to design and construct it.  Our pal Kim Little could provide us with coach houses.  We might be on a vineyard, in a warm climate which had a common area fire pit, sports court, bar and on-site physio and a shared caregiver.  We might use golf carts or bikes as our transportation and maybe eat from a community garden.  There would be music, laughter and maybe a dance floor.  No idea would be a bad one and many of us would continue to dabble in self-employment just for fun.

We would be around friends and likeminded.

This would be my new Pleasantville.