Relocation is a big part of many retirement transitions and it was part of my retirement vision. While our new home is downsized (from 4 bed, 4.5 bath to a 2 bed, 2.5 bath), it is still 3 stories and actually has more steps leading into it (8 steps up to the front porch). It is definitely not an age-in-place type of accommodation, nor does it lend itself to becoming one. It is not a condo; we still have yard work to do. It is not in Florida; it is not closer to (or farther from) family. It is about 6 miles from our previous home. So many have asked: Why did I need to move?
I needed to move for non-retirement reasons. Our old house had me mentally shackled. It was purchased at a very different (and difficult) time of our life for very different lifestyle requirements. While I learned to appreciate living there with its big rooms, random-width wood floors, and coved ceilings, the kitchen never felt comfortable for me to cook in, so I’ve gotten out of the habit of cooking. Even with 10 rooms, there was no space in it that I felt was really mine. The house in total never felt like it was mine. It didn’t give me a sense of place.
I’m not usually a touchy-feely kind of person; I’m an engineer by training and analytical by nature. But the new house has a welcoming feel. We’ve created attic offices for each of us. We are sorting though things and are attempting to keep things that we really need/want/love to have in our space. We are making it ours.
I’ve also been asked do I have a sense of loss moving away from the house we lived in for 16 years, the longest house in our married life and almost the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere. While I will miss the neighbors (especially being close to C&A and their kids), I know I will not miss the house itself. While it does have a few design features I will miss (master bathroom, screened in porch, country sink), I will not miss the busy street, the almost impossible to manage hilly side yard, or the old plumbing.
I am looking forward to beginning a new stage of life in our new space, where I do feel a sense of place. And the stained glass windows, bigger kitchen, and front porch on a quiet street all help.
Do you have a sense of place where you live?
Picture Credit: Tim Doyle, Africa Safari 2017