The Sound of Silence

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We’ve been silent since the end of 2015; the silence was intentional – one of renewal, rejuvenation and looking forward.  We’ve made significant changes and those changes required time to absorb and adjust. As many of you know I’ve moved out of the shared housing arrangement that had defined me for so many years and into my own home. Many thought this change was a move backward and in contradiction to my quest to promote aging in community. Have you ever heard the saying, “Sometimes you have to take a step back to move forward?”

In this case, that’s exactly what I did. An opportunity presented itself; one that allowed me to create my own shared home environment (previously, I was renting the house I shared and now, I own it). What’s more, an opportunity then immediately presented itself to expand my home boundaries and purchase additional acreage.  The dream of creating a community centered on the principles of Aging in Community (description here) is now underway to becoming a reality. There will be more news and information on this but in the meantime, I wanted to share with you what’s been happening during the silence:

In January 2015, the Detroit Public TV aired a documentary, “When I’m 65: Rethinking Retirement in America” for which I had been interviewed a year ago. The documentary features people from across the country in the midst of retirement and showcases the challenges, fears and opportunities we all face.  As a result of these interviews, they also published 3 videos, one features our shared housing arrangement and the other features Asheville’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNC Asheville (OLLIE).

You can click here to see the videos (ours is at the bottom).

To see the full documentary, click here (we are featured 46 minutes in) but the entire video is worth watching. Watching this now (it just aired) was a demonstration of how much and how quickly things can change.

In March 2016, I was featured in WNC Woman’s magazine issue. I discussed how “Improvisational Living begins with Community.” It was a great reminder of the mission and vision I have held all these years for Women for Living in Community especially as we move from dreaming to doing in the next chapter.  We discussed the top 5 things that create controversy in community which was a great reminder as I begin to work out the plans for a real community in Asheville, NC.  We also discussed the missing element of today’s communities that are focused on seniors or retirees and those are the interpersonal aspects of living together, whether you share a house or a community.

Looking forward, I am excited about my upcoming trip to Oregon. Oregon, you ask? Yes, to attend the “New Tribe Training” being held May 19 – 22 in Ashland. If you’re not aware, there is a group of people who have created a supportive network of people, who intentionally have come together as a “tribe.”  As they put it,

“Our “new tribe” model is different from the usual “intentional community” as we live in our own homes and not on shared land. “Bicycle distance” is our metaphor for living close enough to meet face-to-face with weekly consistency.”

Why am I attending? I have always been looking for connections with others in my community related work and the groups I have been a part of. This idea of Tribe and how to form it and be a part of it called to me from an article in Communities Magazine. The article describes their history, their process, what worked and what did not in forming their tribe.  Click here to read the article.

What do I hope to gain?  My hope is to find others who really know me and I know them, spend time together, and choose to be in each others life on purpose, forever. That is what I want. I read Bill and Zoe’s book, titled appropriately, “We Need Each Other: Building Gift Community and knew this Tribe Training was my next step. So I am going to the experts.

So, you can see, the “Silence was not about the absence of something, but the presence of everything.” During this silence we’ve been busy and we can’t wait to fill you in on all the details in the coming months.

Helpful hint: If you’re getting this post by email and have a comment to share, please click here and reply at the bottom of the blog post so that way, your comments can be shared with everyone!

Marianne Kilkenny

5 Ways to Make Connections for 2016

I met a man who lives in Tennessee

He was headin’ for, Pennsylvania, and some homemade pumpkin pie

From Pennsylvania, folks are travelin’ down to Dixie’s sunny shore

From Atlantic to Pacific, gee, the traffic is terrific.

And…you know the rest.

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[Read more…]

8 Ways to Keep Thanksgiving Alive All Year Long

Writing about gratitude at Thanksgiving is terribly cliché. That is why I am not going to do it this year. Well, what I mean is that I am not going to do it in the most obvious way. This won’t be a list of the things I am thankful for this year. This won’t be a catalog so I can check off the box to indicate that I have thanked the people who have influenced me this year. This won’t be any of those things.

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A New Community Tribe: The First NotMom Summit

Months ago I was asked to participate in an event that would be the first of its kind. You never know what to expect in these situations but my participation made sense. This was the first ever conference for women without children. The idea was to bring together women who made the choice to not have children as well as those who did want kids but over time and circumstance find themselves without them.

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The first-ever NotMom Summit took place in Cleveland, Ohio on October 9th and 10th.

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Community or Place: A Look at Our Needs Vs. Our Wants

To build from my last post, which looked at the importance of connection as we age, I wanted to expand more on the key elements of successful “Aging in Place” and how the principles for building a community provide the alternative many are seeking.

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Community vs. Place: Why It Matters

Let’s take a closer look at aging in community and what makes it a different, and in many cases preferred, from aging in place.

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In Spring of 2015 I opened my mailbox to find the newest edition of Communities Magazine. In it was a fantastic article by Margaret Critchlow called “Senior Cohousing in Canada: How Baby Boomers Can Build Social Portfolios for Aging Well.” Since this is right in my own wheelhouse I quickly devoured the article.

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Class at OLLI Asheville: Life Long Learning and Exploring the Option to Age in Community

This year, starting on September 25th, a series of classes will be held for older adults in the Asheville area to explore the various options that are related to aging in community. I have the privilege of kicking off the event by teaching the first class at the Osher Life Long Learning Institute (OLLI) in Asheville.

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OLLI was created many years ago and originally called The Center for Creative Retirement. It was developed because of the large influx of Boomers moving to the Asheville area to pursue their dreams of retiring in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Each class is presented by volunteer instructors and centered on lifelong learning and the expansion of the community that is already here.

Registration for these series of classes is open and available from now until October 6th.

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How We Live Now: A Review

I usually save my favorite books for the holidays but this one was published just this week and I like to keep readers up with the latest news. Even though there are a plethora of books on my shelf that I could recommend this is the one I think you should add first.

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Like many of you, my life is always on the go so I can’t always find time in my busy schedule to sit down and read an entire book. But if you don’t read anything else, this is the one to pick up from Amazon today.

Here are a few reasons.

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Return to Elderspirit 2015

Elderspirit is one of the earliest Senior Cohousing communities in the country. It is internationally known and respected. My own journey would not be the same if it weren’t for the model that Elderspirit has provided for me and for this movement.

I recently had the wonderful experience of visiting Elderspirit with two friends from my community. My last visit was in 2007 so I was really looking forward to observing the changes and of course, looking forward to visiting with its Founder, Dene Petersen. I wrote about looking forward to my visit and looking back in a recent post here, if you want to see more.

When we arrived at the Elderspirit site we were able to witness the growth of landscape, the community, and its population — all changes from the last visit in 2007. It is both comforting and inspiring to see the seeds of this garden grown into colorful blooms, both literally and metaphorically.

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Tiny Homes and Community Living: A Recap

The country, and the world, is currently enamored with the idea of tiny houses. Just look at the popularity of DIY Network’s Tiny House Nation, which documents the building of a tiny house from concept to completion in just one 45 minute episode. Asheville company Wishbone Tiny Homes has even been featured on an episode.

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I have not been immune to this concept. I have written about tiny homes as an option for aging both in community and in place. Several times I asked a local tiny home dweller, Laura M. LaVoie, to share her insights and for other installments I explored the possibilities myself. Let’s take a look at the tiny house resources I’ve shared on this blog.

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Women For Living in Community