A recent episode of MTV’s “True Life” features two stories about community living. In one, 23-year-old Took Edalow attempts to start a commune with several friends on Staten Island. Another follows Emet, 26, as he leaves home and moves into a community called the Garden of Eden in Arlington, Texas.
Edalow is an artist with years of experience living in community, but struggles to get her friends on board with her vision. “I would love to move more into being an income-sharing commune, where maybe we have a cottage industry,” says Edalow. “I want to show people that there are aspects of that way of living that you can plug into your city urban lifestyle, that it’s not out of reach.”
Meanwhile, Emet, feels like the black sheep of his family and wants to move into the Garden of Eden to learn leadership skills and build a tiny home. But he isn’t prepared for the amount of work that the community expects of him.
As with any reality TV show, the story is a little on the sensational side. Edalow says she was disappointed that the episode paid more attention to interpersonal issues, and not enough about the principles behind community living.
Still, it’s nice to see a relatively level-headed look at the reasons young people pursue community living these days, and the challenges they face along the way. Hopefully it will inspire some viewers to give the prospect of community living a closer look and see whether it’s right for them.