I know that I've talked before about how the last decade of the strip should have been about John, Elly and April living their lives and getting the occasional note from Mike and Liz. The reason that this did not happen Lynn's needs tended to turn the negative that is having parasitic adult children who could easily look out for themselves underfoot into the positive of Elly having something to do with her time.
The question that faces us is how one would go about making life in Milborough more like the real world. It seems to me that Liz, who'd have set things in motion by growing up and figuring out what she really wanted, would go first when she gets herself a teaching job in another large city; Elly would worry but that would be about it. After all, she'd have learned her lesson with Anthony and would be less likely to pry.
As for Mike, it seems to me that a good writer would ascribe his otherwise baffling need to move back to Milborough as being a side-effect of PTSD from the fire. We could then have him and Deanna work through their issues and decide that whatever the future holds for either of them, living in the Pattermanse shouldn't be part of the package. We'd have a moving little month or so as everyone danced around the idea of selling it; the complication that makes the most sense is their fighting the last war, so to speak, by being overly worried about what an indifferent April might have to say about the matter.
As for April, the most we'd see from her after graduation is the occasional letter or phone call from Calgary combined with a look at life in a large-animal veterinary practice.
By this time, Elly would be so busy with her new circle of friends, she'd shrug the feelings of emptiness off. For better or for worse, she'd finally have the freedom to do what she wanted and would hope the same for others.