Older age, if we are lucky to experience it, presents changes. Some are welcome, some are iffy.
Some are necessary, like it or not. Last week, before all traces of Christmas were tucked back into our attic, the phone rang. “Hi, it is Beth from Cedarfield,” the marketing director of the chosen retirement facility. Our name has been on the waiting list for twenty months. “There is a cottage available for you and Mr. Nevin. Can you come see it tomorrow?” Gulp! Torrent of mixed emotions.
We went, we saw, we accepted…it is the right thing to do, the right time to say “yes” and the right time to leave our Happy Ever After til the Nursing Home house. We know it. In March John turns 82 and on February 1, I am 79 years old, although I will swear that my birth certificate is wrong! Thank heavens we are vertical; we do not have urgent health issues since John’s back surgery this past fall. In spite of working many hours last summer with marvelous professional downsizer gals who cleaned out our attic, basement “black hole,” extraneous stuff from the kitchen, laundry room, books from the library, etc. etc. they did not touch the “treasures.” This is the hard part, and will take much willpower, determination and straight thinking to sort, to save or to sell.
Local friends with married local offspring say, “Give your things to your children.” Our four chickies, plus married grandchildren are scattered from Seattle, Boston, Connecticut, North Carolina, Delaware…and unless they come here to get what they want, our goodies will be consigned or donated. Moving furniture across the country is costly. Besides, many Millennials are not partial to antiques. They don’t want to polish silver, they don’t want to dust tables loaded with knickknacks. They crave simplicity in their hectic lives. They want uncluttered, wide open, new spaces. A different era than 1957 when we were married.
A few days ago our realtor and his girl Friday arrived to measure the house. A lovely team who worked with us when we sold our other house and built this one. We trust them completely. January is not the optimum time to sell a house, but at least in Virginia the “early season” begins mid-February. Our final payment for the retirement cottage is due in full after all repairs and remodeling are complete… sometime in April. No house sells quickly if it is empty. Data supports that fact. And since this is our 14th move, there are few scenarios we have not experienced. We have not, however, ever moved to a house half the size of the current one.
In addition, we have never worked with a “stager,” that faceless, impersonal person hired by the realtor to rearrange a house, turning it into a blah box with minimal furniture and few personal items. Never suggested to us. “Staging” became popular during the last ten to fifteen years. The concept is to make the “bones” of a house visible without undue distraction. Staging allows potential buyers to see a house as absent of an owner’s personality as possible. Friends have said it feels quite invasive to have a stranger invade and denude a favorite room.
Perchance, the process is the first step in “letting go” of one’s home. Perhaps it is healthy. Perhaps it will force us to realize this edifice is merely a building, rather than a place called “home,” where we have spent many happy years. Perhaps, staging makes it emotionally easier to move forward.
In Joy of Retirement – Live, Love and Learn, I write about Living the Cup Half Full Life. “Taped to the cupboard over my computer is a dog-eared piece of paper…it says:
Attitude, to me, is more important than facts, than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people say, think or do.
It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company, family relationship or home.
The remarkable thing is that we have a choice every morning regarding the attitude we will embrace that day.
We can’t change the past.
We can’t change the fact people will act in a certain way.
We can’t change the inevitable.
The only thing we can do is play the one card we have.
And that is attitude.
I am convinced that life is 10% what happens and 90% how I handle it.”
Thus, when and if the time comes in life for the Ultimate Move, let us assume the very best Attitude we can practice. It is the very best gift we can give ourselves and those we love, and the very happiest ingredient in life for accepting change with grace. May the reward be a path to forever contentment.
Stay tuned: I promise to let you know if I can “practice what I preach!”
Joy Nevin is the author of Joy of Retirement. Click to purchase on Amazon.