We sold our house a month and a half ago … got a good price, and a long lead time, so we’re pretty happy about that. My husband is retiring in December, and I won’t be that far behind him. And this is a fairly large property, that feels too big for he and I to care for. Well, we probably could. We just don’t care to.
Big changes in life are like earthquakes; all that was simmering below the surface is suddenly revealed in the upheaval.
The last six weeks have been traumatic. At first, the relief of selling, along with the funds that will follow, made me giddy with excitement. And then, after the thrill wore off, ugly reality set in. I’ve been a home owner for almost thirty years, and a hoarder for at least the last ten. Faced with the need to evaluate what I value, and what is valuable – two very different things – it was time to finally decide the direction my life will take for the next chapter.
I sank into a paralysis of indecision, tortured by what I would be giving up … my large back yard, and gardens; this beautiful street; the lake at the bottom of the hill. The house, I realized, had never really mattered, but being an owner of a house did. If I decided I wanted to put up shelves, paint a wall, even put a nail in a cupboard to hold my measuring spoons, those were MY decisions, and the consequences mine to answer for.
Renting will be very different. I will have to ask ‘permission’ to do so many things, including keeping a pet. I understand that. Owning property is a big deal. Making sure that property retains value is a big deal. I can’t expect to freely treat a rental unit as I would a home in which I have a financial stake.
However, losing that autonomy is also a big deal. In many ways it feels like a surrender, like going home to the parents after making a stab at liberation. I’m an independent cuss, so that doesn’t feel very good at all.
It also smacks of the other end of life, of the surrendering of independence in pursuit of once more being taken care of by others.
So I am simultaneously feeling like a young bird, leaving the nest, and an old dog, hoping its owners will still appreciate and comfort it as it ages.
Change is challenging at any age. I do not have my own home, but am applying for senior apartments. Like you I look around my apartment now and know that I should begin minimizing my stuff. Although not a hoarder, I still have many things that will not fit into a senior apartment – for example, my bookshelf loaded with books from my college years and other resources.
I have lived with or near to family members all my life. Now thinking about moving into a senior building alone is a little scary. I am a big fan of IDTV and some of those stories do not make me feel comfortable. As you mentioned reducing the responsibilities that house ownership brings can give you a sense of relief. However, you are taking your independence to another level – that of apartment living with its biggest drawback – you do not know who is sharing the elevator.