Where we left off: I REALIZED THAT I AM VERY FORTUNATE TO BE SO WELL-INFORMED ABOUT THE SENIOR LIVING CHOICES AVAILABLE TO ME THROUGH MY CAREER.
At work, I observe prospective residents who do not benefit from interim downsizing because they delay leaving their raise-the-family homes until they move to senior housing. I see that they experience a double-whammy: simultaneous adjustment to a smaller living space coupled with the emotional loss from attachment to the previous home. A much smaller group of prospects seemed to adjust to this move better, and thus became my role model: those who made several preliminary steps in preparation for right-sizing.
With this group in mind, I decided to move from my home at the time all of my children left to establish their own independent lives. My husband and I didn’t need all of the space we had; we certainly no longer needed a playroom for kids. You would think with my knowledge about right-sizing and the desire for early planning, that the move would be easy. WRONG! My head knew it was the correct next-step, but my heart was bound to that house. I was a cliché: I did not own the house, the house owned me!
My home had unique significance to our family. It had been the residence of both my paternal and maternal grandparents, and my husband and I had purchased it from the estate. For decades, it was the site of all holiday gatherings, a tradition my husband and I continued after we purchased it. Holiday pictures were taken using the same backdrop year after year. Both of my children had been born while we lived in that house, and trees were planted for each of their births. Memoires abounded in that place. In other words, heart and emotions were battling with the intellectual decision to downsize.
Like many prospects, I experienced deep feelings of apprehension and grief when making the move from this home to a smaller house:
- Friendships that had been established over decades would change. Would I like my new neighbors as much?
- I would miss my old neighborhood; just walking around it spurred pleasant memories of family and friends.
- Would the family gatherings die when the home place was no longer the gathering spot?
- I would miss the rooms the kids grew up in. How would I retrieve those fond memories without the space to ignite the memory?
- Would my kids miss their space, their home?
- I will have to purge and rid myself of some of my stuff; I don’t want to lose possession of too many prized or sentimental items.
I could go on and on, but suffice it to say, such a life change challenges one’s equilibrium. Who would think that an inanimate object could create such grief with its passing? From this experience, I learned yet another critical lesson: DON’T LET INANIMATE OBJECTS OWN YOU.
I’m guessing that it will be important for me to remember this next week, when I will relive the experience of purging my personal items in readiness for downsizing as I write this blog!
Blog Posting Author: Patty Scotten
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