It’s an extension of the same conversation that everyone over 50 is already having. If not out loud with family and friends, then at least inside their own heads. Go to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to catch up or join in.
It is now day 21,900.
If you happen to be somewhere in the vicinity of 60 years old, that’s roughly how long you’ve been on the planet. It’s also the first day of the rest of the 30 or more years (10,950 + days) you have left to figure it all out. There’s no time like the present.
Why home? Why this particular discussion in the middle of a real estate section? Where we’re all used to seeing big ads, big homes and big dreams so prominently displayed? (Oops… don’t glance to the right!)
Because the concept of “big” is a fluid one. Over time it adjusts in scope along with everything else. It gets scaled down in ways that more naturally reflect normal aging processes and the slow arc that stages of our lives move through.
Things begin to get re-evaluated and re-prioritized whenever life’s realities step in and deem it necessary.
Like: When you are an aging baby boomer and a card-carrying member of the “sandwich generation.” (That’s the “adult” population that currently finds itself juxtaposed between responsibilities for older octogenarians and younger millennials.)
Like: When you have to start navigating your own path through the maze of confusing choices around things like retirement planning, social security, pensions, health issues, trusts, long term care insurance and future quality of life considerations.
Homes belong at the center of the discussion. Because they are the centering places for our lives in so many ineffable ways. They care for us. Provide safety. Security. Shelter. Comfort. Privacy. Refuge. An all-important semblance of control over our surroundings.
Homes are also usually the biggest asset most of us will ever own. An asset that comes in the dubious form of “equity.” That’s the difference between what we owe and what our homes are worth on any given day. Equity is fluid but it isn’t really very liquid.
All of which makes it extremely tricky when you are trying to figure out what place your home occupies in your own big picture. So, it’s not so strange we are having this discussion here. What could be more important?
We are trying to draw a map. To chart some of the recognizable landmarks in the geography of the future. And figure out where our own unique lives are at on the continuum and on the playing field, in relationship to everything else.
Through long years of observation, here are a few truisms that I think I may have gleaned. Let’s use them as our “start here” point on the map:
– Nothing is more certain than change.
– There’s nothing that human beings resist more than change.
– Not choosing to change is one of your choices.
– If you put off choosing long enough, eventually life will step in and make choices for you.
– When life chooses, you get change by default and fewer options.
– You are more prepared to handle change today than you will be 10 or 20 years from now.
– While being a bit fearful, change can also be new and exciting.
– If the whole idea was to enjoy the fruits of your labor after all these years, what are you waiting for?
More next week…