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Home Sweet Apartment: Moving? Do We Really Have To?

Home Sweet Apartment: Moving? Do We Really Have To?

Dan and Bonnie Carlson found themselves at a crossroads. Homeownership that had in the past been so right, was beginning to seem, well… so not right. In fact, it was actually hindering their ability to fully embrace and enjoy their current stage of life. In this, the first of Dan’s four-part series on “rightsizing”, Dan focuses on coming to terms with the need to make a change—and just exactly what that would entail.

After more than fifty years of marriage, I had a stock answer whenever my wife, Bonnie, suggested we consider moving: “That’s between you and your next husband.” In other words, I was dug in and had no intention of budging from our home. My very patient bride usually just smiled at my light-hearted comment. We both knew there would be a myriad of things involved in a move and neither of us, especially at our age, was enthused about starting down that road.

But time has a way of catching up with people—and houses.

For example, our home had two levels, and we noticed that the stairs had become increasingly difficult. We weren’t visiting the upstairs rooms as often as we used to. And those lovely wood floors we installed several years ago, well…a slip and fall on that hard surface could be life-changing.  As the saying goes, “getting old is not for sissies!”

The house itself was in excellent condition, but there was always some sort of maintenance or housekeeping issue to deal with. I had long taken pride in personally handling most repairs and renovations that came my way but, with age, I no longer relished climbing an extension ladder to clean the gutters or repair a piece of loose trim. Even interior maintenance had become a challenge. Our vaulted ceilings meant the process of something as simple as changing a bulb in a recessed light fixture had become a major production.

We lived in a lovely community and were blessed with wonderful neighbors. But over time, the area had experienced tremendous population growth, traffic had increased exponentially and road construction was a constant nightmare. We’d reached the point of preferring to stay home to avoid driving in the area and were missing stores, events and restaurants we had long enjoyed.

Perhaps Bonnie was right. Maybe it was time to think about a new living arrangement.

Needless to say, this would be a major life event.  That being so, we took the time to carefully consider who we are, what we hoped for in life, and what we wanted our new lifestyle to look like. We determined that we were seeking to be free of home maintenance, to be able to relax, to volunteer, to read, to write, and to live economically.  

Further, we hoped that by “rightsizing” our lives in this way, we would be able to fashion a lifestyle characterized by reduced stress and increased personal contentment.

Incidentally, describing our move as “rightsizing” rather than “downsizing” is more than a mere exercise in semantics. Simply stated, we were not interested solely in ridding ourselves of unneeded possessions or reducing our footprint on the planet. Instead, our aim was to craft a lifestyle that would reflect what we were hoping for in our hearts.

Once we made the decision to move, Bonnie and I knew our work was cut out for us. But we were excited about the goal we had set for ourselves, and certain that the outcome would be well worth the effort.

So, now Dan and Bonnie had decided on the “what,” but what about the “where?” In the next piece from this four-part series, Dan explains how they chose their perfect new home.

Daniel Carlson
Daniel Carlson

Daniel Carlson is a retired police officer, former law enforcement educator and present-day active author. He and his high school sweetheart Bonnie, have been married for over half a century and have recently co-authored a book titled, “Home Sweet Apartment…Getting Rightsized in Our Seventies.” The young at heart couple are currently loving life at Overture Ridgmar, which is in the Great State of Texas, and in purposefully close proximity to their three children and seven terrific grandchildren.

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