I wonder how I will know, when it is time to sell our home and move to another place, someplace smaller, easier to maintain.
Will it depend upon my health, my energy, my finances, my desire to spend time doing things other than house chores and upkeep? Will it depend upon how many other demands there are for my time, my attention, and upon who else needs help in my family?
I am unsure.
Even though I, that is, we are unsure, we have begun to plan and to discuss the possibilities. We have started to weigh pros and cons of home ownership. To look at what selling means, what it takes away.
We do not consider ourselves elderly, but we are aging. One or the other of us has faced health challenges in the past five years: emergency surgery, long term illness, cancer, mobility problems … problems serious enough to make us stop and take a hard look at our living situation.
We have checked the costs of staying here against the costs of renting or buying a much smaller home. With home ownership, we build equity, but that is leveraged against the dollars needed for ongoing maintenance and keeping the house in good repair.
We know we don’t want to deal with the petty politics of condo associations, or of living in a neighbour's armpit that condos require, so that is an option we won’t consider.
We’ve looked at hiring some help with our enormous yard and its upkeep. We’ve talked about the real estate market; it is not conducive to selling and doing well with a house sale right now. Will that market turn around soon? Can we wait?
How much does it cost to stay put? We’ve had to put on a new roof, a necessity. It had to be done whether we stay or we go.
These questions feel like they contain nothing but words about loss. And there will be losses: letting go of belongings, notions of what a home should be, letting go of relationships with people, with pets. Some losses will be difficult.
We do love where we live, and enjoy the privacy our big yard and mature trees provide. We like our neighbourhood, appreciate the variety of ages and lifestyles around us. We are attached to our home by emotion and memories and dreams.
But, life and reality are all about change. There will always be changes, and yes, some bring a deep sense of loss but there will also be a sense of something new coming, perhaps something better, easier. A pleasant surprise?
For now, the conversation about how and when we will know it is time to let go continues.
I’ll keep you posted.