No one can escape it, aging that is, unless of course we come smack up against its alternative. We want to have some fun, enjoy ourselves, live a little, but if we wait too long, we often times miss the zone. The zone is when we have enough energy, good health and flexibility, to still dance and have fun and not suffer from borderline feebleness. Unfortunately, that oftentimes is exactly what happens when we are strapped financially.
Some wise person once said that life is backwards. We live our early adulthood with limited or stressed incomes due to babies, houses, education loans and the like. Then, when we finally are just a little bit comfortable financially, we are often faced with the realities of the aging process. Well, I’m happy to report that there is a remedy to this problem that works so well it is almost incomprehensible. It’s called living as a family.
When I first observed this phenomena, I was flabbergasted and stunned by how well it worked. Having said that, I’m sure there must be some very real drawbacks, but generally, it appeared to be an incredibly effective way to live.
My introduction to this concept was during my recent trip to the little town in Italy where my grandparents were born. My great Uncle Marco had built a modest house on the Main Street upon which additional stories were added as successive generations were born. In this three story house lives a mom, a dad, and two children and their families. They have a three car garage with additional parking spaces in the driveway and many nights they share the evening meal. They all have their own space and yet, they share a roof. What a concept.
When I thought of my own family it hit me that we had done the same thing as kids. We lived with my grandparents in our own space, and that form of modest living allowed my brother and I to get college educations with little or no debt to pay off afterwards. Of course, if you raise your kids in a rural area and they want the stimulation of an urban area or vice versa that changes the equation considerably. The other wild card would be if they married awful people; the stress generated from those decisions can devastating and painful.
But the families that I observed seemed to have balanced their freedom, independence, and love very well, and by pulling their resources in the form of NO MORTGAGES, occasional built in grandparent babysitting, and shared second vehicles, their financial needs were incredibly less. In fact, it seemed like they could do things like pursue their dreams without fear of homelessness or being ostracized.
One of my cousins was a professional musician who also delivered bread from his cousin’s incredibly successful bakery. Another had just completed a bed and breakfast in what had been one of their garages and on the adjoining land they had created a petting zoo. Everyone had a big garden, jarred and canned fresh fruits and vegetables and made their own wine. Still one other cousin had fenced in the acreage for an ostrich farm and another was harvesting olives for olive oil. They didn’t appear to have much discretionary money, but no one suffered because they had plenty of pooled resources.
Of course they all went to church and danced at the church festivals, and they all spent at least some time together over shared meals. It seemed simple, beautiful, amazingly supportive and loving. What would life be like with a scenario like this in America, relationships where the family elders could share their wisdom through potentiation sessions with grandchildren; where recipes could be learned and passed on from generation to generation and love would be at the center of everything?
The scenery was amazing, the ancient ness was overwhelming, but family was everything.