[Bella’s Intro: I met Marianne Kilkenny during my first full day of interviewing for a book project that would end up taking four years to complete. I was totally smitten. She was so open and so very knowledgeable. I learned a tremendous amount from her, and that learning is continuing to this day. She is a true pioneer of 21st century living. Marianne’s story opens the chapter of How We Live Now on home-sharing. Like the Golden Girls, she and several other people all lived together under the same roof. Marianne appears in several other chapters, too. I was delighted that she was open to writing a guest post. Thanks, Marianne!]
How We Live Now: In Community
Guest Post by Marianne Kilkenny
When Bella DePaulo flew all the way from California to North Carolina to interview me for her book How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century, I had no idea that the end result would be so very satisfying.
We sat in the common dining room in my shared house and talked for hours about each other, community, and our vision for the future. We shared ideas, philosophies, and stories; many of which made it to the book. Some of the stories in the book take place in the very house where we sat and chatted like old friends who had just met.
I also shared stories about my life before community. I talked about my earlier lifestyle and living with a husband all which not only gave me more perspective but can give readers some as well. Everything we do in our lives influences the choices and decisions we make in the future. Who is to say that my life would be where it is now if it weren’t for these earlier experienced?
“Chapter 3: One Big, Happy Friendship Housemates Go Long and Deep” is part of my story. It is part of everyone’s narrative who thinks about extending family and friendship to community living. My interview was different than other interviews and when I reviewed the final product I was struck by the words I said, forgetting I had said many of them.
Bella approached this project not only as a social psychologist but as a single 60-something woman looking for alternatives and answers for her own life. Her previous books have been focused on dispelling myths and stereotypes of single adults.
Of course, while I am proud and pleased with the chapter that describes my paradigm, I was also excited to read about others in the book. Some stories feature couples “living together alone.” These partners, in long term, committed relationships, choose to live separately. Had I known about this concept earlier in my life it would have saved me from a few divorces of my own. “Chapter 7: Lifespaces for the New Old Age: Institutions Begone!” features the story of Dr. Bill Thomas and his Greenhouse Project, a new way to live as we age.
How We Live Now is all about community, and community is what it is all about. It takes a deeper look at how relationships change as we do and move and adapt in our current times. I am grateful that Bella asked me to be a part of this project.
About the author: Marianne Kilkenny is the trailblazer and Grand Nudge behind Women for Living in Community. Her guidebook Your Quest for Home helps readers find their own way on a path toward aging in community.
Previous Guest Posts Relevant to How We Live Now:
Photo courtesy of Marianne Kilkenny