Transgenerational living

Tom Brezsny
- Tom Brezsny

Transgenerational living

Realtors are given intimate access to lots of life lessons by virtue of their work. We are blessed with myriad opportunities to witness the good, the bad and the ironic of human nature when people invite us into their homes and ask us to play a significant role in their transitions.

We get to work with all the biggies. Marriage. Birth of twins. Job promotions. Coming of age. Empty nests. Divorces. Health challenges. Assisted living. Death of parents. For better or for worse. Richer or poorer. In sickness and in health. And everything in between. These are all the reasons people move and why homes are bought and sold.

The essence of home isn’t rooted in the notion that people should stay put and try to resist change forever. It lies in all the ways people continue to adapt and adjust their surroundings in the face of life’s inevitabilities. To not change really isn’t an option.

When people spend hours surfing listings on Zillow or driving around neighborhoods looking for three bedrooms rather than two, bigger backyards, proximity to schools, more privacy, less grass to mow, deeper connections to nature, shorter commute times, fewer stairs … they are really just participating in the evolution of their own lives.

More and more, the world seems intent on trying to compartmentalize itself by diminishing the whole, breaking things up and deconstructing life into disparate fragments and fodder for the digital age.

It’s sad to hear people talk about seniors like they’re from a different planet. It’s also sad to hear people talk about millennials like they are from some different time in history. Like all of us are somehow different populations of “other” people simultaneously occupying alternate universes instead of co-existing together in the same here and now.

Trans-generational living was once the norm. Families transitioned through all of life’s stages together. Children were born into households that had parents and grandparents and often great-grandparents living under one roof. Aunts and uncles lived next door or nearby. Cousins were playmates. Children learned from all the adults in their tribe. They saw all of life’s stages unfold up close and personal. They witnessed death and integrated the memory of it.

Somewhere along the way, that quality of life left the building. It deserted our homes and our towns. Migrated to the suburbs and met a dystopian future. But that’s not the end of the story. My optimism about the future has been buoyed in recent years by the choices I am watching more clients make in the face of their life transitions. Next week we’ll talk more about that.

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