Continuing the discussion… about the nature of home and the intimate relationship it has with the challenges of aging. If you are somewhere near 65 years old, it is now officially day 23,725. That’s roughly how long you’ve been on the planet. And it’s also the first day of the rest of the 30 or more years (10,950 + days) you have left to figure things out. There’s no time like the present.
Why initiate this discussion in the middle of a real estate section where people are used to seeing big ads for big homes and big dreams? Because the concept of “big” is a fluid one that should naturally adjust in scope as we grow older. Big can get scaled back in ways that fit the slow arcs that people’s lives inevitably move through.
Quality of life has a habit of getting redefined whenever the realities of being human step in and make it necessary. Like: When aging baby boomers (the “sandwich generation”) find themselves with dueling responsibilities for their older octogenarian parents and their younger millennial kids. At the same time they’re also trying to navigate through their own confusing choices around retirement planning, social security, pension, health issues, trusts and long term care.
Homes belong at the center of the discussion because they are the centering places of our lives. They care for us by providing safety, security, shelter, comfort, privacy, refuge and an all-important sense of control over our surroundings. Of course, those same homes are also the biggest assets most of us will ever own.
All of which makes it tricky when folks start trying to figure out what place home should occupy in their own “big picture” of the future. What most people need is a better map to help chart the recognizable landmarks that lie ahead and that also provides a few fixed points of context for their lives in relation to everything else. Here are a few of the random thoughts that I use as the “starting coordinates on my own map:
Nothing is more certain than change. There’s nothing human beings resist more than change. Not choosing to change is always one of your options. Putting off change for long enough will eventually force life to step in and make choices for you. When life chooses, you get change by default and a lot fewer options. You are more prepared to handle change today than you will be 10 years from now. Despite being fearful, change can also be new and exciting. If the whole idea was to enjoy life after all those years of working, what are you waiting for?