What does your home mean to you?
The only thing for sure in life is that something will change sooner or later no matter how set you are in your ways.
The next change in my life is entirely self-orchestrated and one I look forward to with anticipation. As is my usual pattern, I have been reading and talking to people and doing a bit of research into what might be in my future when I retire after 21 years as a realtor. Because my family lives in Calgary, I will not move away, but many others make different decisions.
Some choose a retirement community with neighbours and social activities meant for the over-50 crowd. Some sell their house and take up permanent travel with their home on wheels. Others look for a country with a benevolent climate (no snow and ice has a certain appeal, I must admit). You can’t pick up a magazine these days without finding an article on “downsizing”, which usually means shedding the big house and moving into a smaller one or a condo or retirement residence. There is a dizzying array of options.
One of the books had a captivating chapter on how people live in their homes. Consider this:
- Home as a job. Now that you are retired and have extra time and energy, the house becomes a full-time job – fixing all the little things that have been ignored, cleaning corners and back of shelves, organizing drawers, sorting through the “this and that” stuff that has been put off for years. Then doing it again and again because it is satisfying.
- Home as a project. Now is the time to tackle the big jobs – renovations, additions, major landscaping – roll up your sleeves and really get at those projects that have been waiting for the time when work no longer calls. This can be a long phase for some; I know people (usually men) who have been happily working on house projects for years.
- Home as a museum. Do you love to collect? Do you adore your collections? Is your house a showcase for your precious articles? Then your home may be your museum. Some of these homes are stunningly beautiful and reflect their owner’s passion and good taste. Collectors come in all stripes, however, and some of them are topics of TV shows. Enough said.
- Home as a community centre. Families who always meet at Grandma’s house are in this category. The social hub of many groups is one home where the coffee pot is always on and the door open to friends and members.
- Home as a base of operations. If your future involves travel, you may see your house as the place you land to do your laundry and prepare for your next trip. I have a friend who shares her house with a trusted tenant so she needn’t worry about it as she moves around the world from one country to another for months at a time.
- Home as a retreat. Decades of work and stress can leave a person exhausted, with no energy for projects or travel or socializing. She might just want to go in and close the door, wrapping her home around her like a warm sweater and be alone. It doesn’t have to be forever, but for now, retreating to a safe and stress-free environment is welcome.
What does your home mean to you? Do you see yourself in one of the above categories?
More than one, maybe several? Have you visited one type of living, then moved on to another? Who do you know who is a perfect example of a particular type? Once again, people are wonderfully different, and one size does not fit all.
Barbara writes home and gardening articles. She appears in several publications in Calgary Alberta.
This article appears in the November 2015 issue of Point of View.