• Friday, March 15th, 2013

Last Fall I made the big decision, one which many people will make in retirement: time to “downsize”. I had gotten to the point that I didn’t want to maintain a 3 bedroom, 3 bath home any longer, since I was using about half the space. My experiment a couple of years ago, when I spent 4 months living in the small house in Panama, had shown me I could be happy with less. But I hadn’t gotten around to doing anything about it. I was just too busy. But by the end of 2012, I had wrapped up a number of projects and could focus on making a change. But, a change to what? I considered the various options: a continuing care commnunity such as my friend Maria had moved to? I felt I was too young for that. An “Active Adult” community with a golf course and fancy club house of which there are many in So. Florida? No, I didn’t want that to be my whole world as it is for many. I’m involved in lots of activities already. A condo? No, I had already decided I didn’t like having people live above, below and all around me. I’m too used to living in a house. I finally settled on finding a small two bedroom, two bath villa in an over-55 community, but without the gates, walls and organized activities. So I put my home on the market and set out looking. Recently I received an offer on my home, so now I’m ready to make an offer on a new home for myself. In the meantime, I’m going through closets and contributing items to garage sales, goodwill and various thrift shops, books to the libraries, etc. I’ve made a list of furniture to sell or donate when moving time comes. Like many decisions that will face the retiree, this is one that’s best not left for too late in life. Moving is hard work, and doesn’t get easier as you get older. Many people will have to decide where they will want to live. I made the decision in my 50’s to move to So. Florida while I was young and active enough to create new work, play golf and tennis, make new friends, and get involved in a community. Mostly I moved for the weather and have never regretted it, so I’m not going anywhere; my next home will be right in the community I live in now. In deciding to move to a smaller home, I also wanted to save my son the trauma of cleaning out a home filled with “stuff” when my time comes to depart this world. I saw what a burden it was for him to deal with his father’s “stuff” when he died. This move might not even be the last, should the day come when I can’t live on my own, but, then, I have my long term care policy for that! My decisions and experiences are universal, ones which most people will face in retirement. Change is never easy, but is exciting, and best done when one is strong and healthy.

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