Celebrating Life in the Sharing Economy

FH 5/14/15Last May I alluded to the new economy, one based on sharing rather than owning, on dealing with new ways of being employed.

And right about that time, I unexpectedly became a roommate.

Midlife Americans – all working class Americans, I suspect – are struggling to maintain their lifestyles with stagnant wages, few union protections, higher costs, crumbling roads and transit systems that  complicate daily commutes.

And that’s where I am. I am rethinking life in New York, the city of my birth. It’s a big country with prettier, more affordable places to live.

In 2013 NBC ran an interview with three women who bought a house together, and it seems to be working. They even referenced The Golden Girls, that mid-Eighties hit TV show that comically introduced the concept of cooperative living.

Last year the blog Mother Nature Network reported about Silvernest, a company that matches empty-nesters with potential roommates. Many of the renters are people living alone in houses that are much larger than they need. It’s a great idea to alleviate loneliness and create almost passive income.

It’s been widely reported that younger Americans are living with their parents for much longer than recent previous generations. They graduate from college with student debt and take starter jobs that barely pay a living wage. The alternative is to live with roommates.

In many traditional families, it’s not unusual for a few generations to share a home. Grandparents babysit so their children can work. Adults care for their aging parents. I suspect that these multigenerational households will become more common as family members join forces to remain financially stable.

My middle brother moved back to New York and is staying with me while he starts his new life. It’s been mostly fun; we respect each other’s space and privacy while enjoying the company. I’ve reconfigured and discarded a few things in the apartment to make room for his stuff. I Space Bagged my winter coats and created a makeshift changing area using a cute, but practical, room divider. The clutter police would not approve of my suitcase and wheelie cooler in the entryway but hey, that’s life. Besides, coolers and suitcases imply fun activities, like a subliminal reminder that sometimes, life can be good.

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2 thoughts on “Celebrating Life in the Sharing Economy

  1. Hope you find what you want to do or go as you reflect on life. My mom moved in with us seven years ago and my middle brother is living with us for a bit of time. Family is there for family. It’s good to have the room to help them or give them a better life.

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    1. Technically, I don’t have the space but we’re pretty respectful of each other. And coming from a large family, we all shared rooms as kids so this is comfortable.We are lucky. As are you; we understand the value of family!

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