My first year as a baby boomer orphan has been one of emotional ups downs. I shared how I took time to grieve and learned to deal with sadness in an earlier post HERE. I also revealed ah-ha’s about my writing goals after penning M&M, my first non-fiction book for grown ups based on my parent’s six decades together, HERE.
Now, two mountainous personal challenges click into place to majorly alter my personal space and appearance.
Adios, Old Friend
My first transition: accepting the new reality of ascending into my family’s senior-member orbit after my parents' passing. Spouse JM and I are right-sizing!
After watching my parents' failing health and slowing mobility, we decided to find a home where we could age in place and not wait until poor health forced us to move.
Yep. This summer, we’re leaving our cherished home on the greenway and neighbors of 20 years to build a residence three miles away. Still near the ‘hood and close to all we love, it’s not a retirement community (see next section). Instead, it’s a wonderful mix of generations and families in all life stages. JM and I hope our new neighbors will be as wonderful as the ones we were blessed with for 2 decades.
Right-sizing was a head decision, not a heart decision. Our new home will be mostly on one level, so no climbing stairs should we be unable to in the future. Its square footage is nearly what we have now, redistributed minus a formal living room and one bedroom. I still have my office, and JM can’t wait to build his O-scale model train layout in his ginormous new game room.
We never had tons of possessions, but we still dreaded skinnying down our household.
Armed with boxes, packing tape and bubble wrap, I started sorting.
Keep. Toss. Donate. Box. Yikes!
We called Habitat for Humanity for pick up and trekked to Goodwill with carloads of donations.
We filled a rented storage room with books, linens, and other “nonessentials” to make our home look more spacious when staged for sale this spring.
I was surprised how unburdened it felt to pass on belongings for others to enjoy. Like that young worker helping us spruce up the front entry, who received a small rug and maple end table. His huge smile told me the vintage pieces I purchased at an estate sale years ago found a happy home.
I even unearthed forgotten treasures boxed in the attic, unopened from our last move 20 years ago. Dad’s 1970s-era McDonald’s morning mugs he gave me to remember happy meals, happy times growing up and are marked for pride of place in the new kitchen.
These lost reminders of his sunny disposition and coffee addiction will be featured in our new home.
Hardest was parting with the 100-year-old pump organ that has been connected to JM’s family since it was made by Weaver Organ and Piano in York, PA in 1916. I'll miss its beautiful walnut case and Victorian charm, but there’s no room for it in the new house. After weeks of scouring the internet in three states and being rejected, the lovely folk at Fuquay-Varina Museums accepted our donation for their collection. Whew!
It’s also tough leaving our lush woodlands in an established neighborhood for a brand new community. But we have a wee hill and teeny green copse, leftovers from bulldozers razing old pine forests that once dotted the site of our new neighborhood. It's a tough transition from miles of woods and greenways right outside the door to the single, short walking path in our new place.
BUT ... we're delighted to lose leaf raking, yard work, and copperheads visiting from adjacent woods (Hooray!). And yes, I’ll take a carload of my fave plants for new garden beds, but most specimens stay for the next family. Plus, I'll have a new outdoor space to create. What a mix of sad times/happy times!
Finding My Roots
Moving to a new home wasn’t the only item on my radar during the past months. I took on another life transition facing many women of a certain age. Yep. Letting my natural hair color take root, so to speak [winking here].
I resisted going natural for the longest time. I adore my sassy reddish-brown tresses and am over the moon when people under-estimate my age. But I felt it was time to embrace my baby boomer status.
JM supports my decision. We’re looking forward to seeing what color (colors?) emerge. Already, a few grays at the temple and salt-and-pepper shades at the crown give us clues.
My biggest fear is that this new look could stereotype me as a slow, forgetful senior-citizen luddite. Sigh. I’m not a member of AARP and don’t expect to play bingo at the community center any time soon.
I was offended when a Millennial recently assumed I didn’t know about several cool apps or have a presence on social media. And this was with my sassy brunette look! Grrr.
I study 21st-century Blockchain technology, format my own digital and print books, maintain a website and two blogs, plus manage three email accounts and just as many cloud storage platforms, and moderate multiple Facebook groups. I'm woefully bad at knowing current pop music icons, so does that make me an old geezer? But I never listen to the oldies station, either.
Fingers crossed this jump into the unknown has a happy ending, too.
Like any journey, I figure it’s what you make of it along the way. Some days, it plain hurts to let go. However, I try to count my blessings and boogie down with exciting times and big changes ahead.
Have you found it difficult to make major life changes? What helps you find energy/courage to move in new directions? Please share in the comment section.
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Absolutely loved your article and I could relate in so many ways. We recently started cleaning out our downstairs storage area (much for the same reasons as you) and it felt great.
2/6/2018 06:57:15 pm
Kristen, I’m heartend to know your storage clear out turned out well. For me, making the dcision and starting were toughest. Same with my new hair style (gulp), but I cannot hurry that along. Thanks for the vote of confidence!
2/3/2018 11:37:44 am
As a fellow baby boomer, I read your wonderfully insightful and personal blog with interest. Hubby and I talk about the day when we will downsize. And since I hate going to the beauty shop, I wonder when the day will arrive when I’m brave enough to go natural. I applaud you for making these brave choices! Shame on that young person who tried to shame you - you are one of the most tech-savvy people I know! Wish you much happiness in your new digs and can’t wait to see your new natural look!
2/6/2018 08:33:00 pm
Julie, I suspect many of our generation feel that right-sizing challenge. Ditto for women and the beauty shop decision. I appeciate your kind words and know all will go well for you when those opportunities come round.
2/3/2018 11:53:22 am
Can totally relate, going thru the same process here preparing for a possible move sometime this year. I have been on a waiting list for a much more affordable senior center for over a year, still waiting for an opening. Whenever that comes, I will be moving, too. So trying to go thru stuff now, downsizing in preparation ahead of time not leaving all to the last hurry-up minutes.
2/6/2018 07:24:18 pm
Wow, James, that’s a *huge* transition! You are wise to start early. I want to get hgtv to visir your new place and outfit it with space-saving craft and storage areas. btw...We find free sturdy packing boxes at the liquor store. All the best with your new space!
2/5/2018 05:27:20 pm
2/6/2018 07:34:35 pm
Smiling here, Rosie, just imagining all the lovely memories you kept from your children through the years. Letting go of my treasures from young ones was rough for me. I returned some, kept many, and tossed the rest.
2/5/2018 06:54:09 pm
Yes, having a downstairs bedroom is a great thing to have for the future --or even for the present! And, interestingly, I've also moving back to going "natural" for my hair. I know mine is more salt than pepper! ;)
2/6/2018 07:43:53 pm
A salt-and-paper look rocks, Debra. All the best with your new style, and thanks for the comforting words about first-floor living.
2/5/2018 11:34:19 pm
It's a brave big decision to downsize, especially from a much loved area of 20 years! Well done you! As you know, we spent the last few months of last year moving too. but it was still on the same property. Not sure if that made things harder or easier? Nothing was boxed, it was all carried bit by bit from one house to the other, with a lot of tossing in between. On reflection sometimes I think I tossed too much in my attempts to de-clutter, sometimes I think not enough. Enjoy your new home, embrace the changes, it's onwards and upwards from here.
2/6/2018 08:26:28 pm
Sandra, you had quite the home transition! It’s hard to strike the perfect balance between keep and toss. I haven’t found it, but I will be extra cautious about adding more “stuff” to our new digs. Your kind words about our upcoming changes mean more than you know!
2/7/2018 08:20:19 am
"Right sizing" That's a great term and I applaud you for doing it. Just don't get rid of your family's precious photo albums! (Don't think you will.) I haven't taken the plunge to not color my hair--don't like the roots when they start popping in. But, You're a very hip member of my generation!!
2/8/2018 11:10:30 pm
Carol, I have SO many photo albums and old letters that I cannot bring myself to toss.
2/7/2018 05:09:25 pm
It's so interesting how we reflect on and rethink our own personal spaces after caring for our ailing parents, isn't it? It sounds like we're in similar situations Cat, because I can certainly relate to your post. Love the word "right-size"...it sounds so much more hopeful and promising than "down-size." Seems like you've made some brave, positive changes in your life...you are amazing Cat:)
2/8/2018 11:06:00 pm
We are in similar places, Tracy. Life majorly shifted as my parents aged, passed on. These transitions are never easy, and I hope yours are gentle.
2/8/2018 11:00:00 pm
Julie, Delighted you found my blog and learn you just finished doing what we are now starting. Good to know you survived right-sizing and are thriving!
2/12/2018 02:59:56 pm
Thanks, Carmela. We want to be proactive and not forced into taking any moves. At least we are close by our old 'hood and neighbors. I appreciate you painting another lovely future with a smooth move and more good neighbors.
3/25/2018 09:21:26 pm
Thank you for sharing your adventures! I’m so impressed with how well you handle your social media and Web presence! I continue to enjoy, and I and am inspired by the tech savvy example you set for those of us who did not grow up in the digital age. You’ve become a technology guru and an internet role model for a whole generation of “on top of the mountain, not over the hill” geekiors and geekiors-to-be. You go, girl! #C0C0C0 rocks!
4/2/2018 05:10:04 pm
Susanne, I am constantly learning and being challenged by social media and tech.
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