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Since You Asked: Downsizing

Is downsizing a good idea? Since you asked, David, Rob, and Susan weigh up the pros and cons and reflect on building your own life.

David
Hey, guys. Welcome back. Good to see you both. Rob, have you been drinking today? 

Rob
David, I can’t believe you just asked me that. You know, we’ve known each other a while, so I think it’s a fair question. Let me check my mug. No, I haven’t.

David
Oh, congratulations. Good for you. So, Susan, how are you today? 

Susan
I am drunk.

David
Oh! So we’re looking forward to some fine, sober advice today from the both of you. Let’s be useful here. Julian sent us a question and Julian says: “We live in our forever home. The kids are out. Financially, we’re fine. But we’re thinking about downsizing. We see the pros and cons, and maybe it’s a good idea to do while it’s still possible. For us, a big move when we’re older could be tough.” What do you think? 

Rob
You know, the last part of that question, worrying about moving when you’re older, I think that’s really not a big deal. That’s a non-issue. You could pay to have stuff moved. Don’t worry about that. I think the bigger question is: Now that you have a little free time, what do you want your life to look like? Right?

This is a lifestyle issue. This has nothing to do with your house. So it’s just getting on with what you want to do. And if the house fits into that plan and you like being there, then no problem. But if you want to travel or do new things, then take your time but get rid of the house and go do what you want. There is no such thing as a forever house. 

“I am a big believer in having less stuff”

Susan
I downsized when my son moved out and I love the idea of having less to have to worry about. The only drawback about downsizing was that once my kids had kids, then I felt like I needed more space. I didn’t have enough room for everyone to come and stay. But that could be an advantage!

I am a big believer in having less stuff. This idea of minimizing and having less crap around. Because I think that idea of, as you get older, you know, if something happens to you, who’s going to clean out? Maybe that’s not our problem to worry about, but it is sort of…

Rob
It totally is a problem! Don’t ask your children what they think; they will say: “Never sell the house. This stain in the corner is where I threw up, when I was two. This placemat is where I ate my first popcorn.

This isn’t about them. If you listen to them, you’ll be in that house for the next 45 frickin’ years. To Susan’s point, they’re coming to see you, right? They’ve got their own lives. They’re not going to see the house

Get them a hotel. You’ll find a way to get those grandkids in there. I’ve never heard once, and, Susan, tell me if you agree, one person who’s downsized who regrets it. Everybody loves downsizing once they do it. Everybody.

“There just should be more emphasis on how there’s a whole life ahead of us”

Susan
Yeah, it’s kind of Marie Kondo-ing your life. But here’s a point also that I want to make is that when we get to, let’s just say, 50 and over, why is it that it all has to be about our kids and our grandkids? And, David, obviously and the work that you are doing.

There just should be more emphasis on how there’s a whole life ahead of us. If we started having this purpose and intention about looking at what awaits us, looking at what can be done — hell, I’m going to do comedy in LA at 66. There’s so much stuff that can be done. I love my kids. No one loves them more.

I love my grandbabies even more. But my life is not defined by that. It was when I was a full-time mom. It is no longer. I am a person that can be defined as not someone’s grandma or someone’s mother. And that’s the importance, I think, in a life for yourself. 

Rob
I couldn’t agree more with that last comment. Our identity is wrapped up for so many years in being a mother, a parent, a spouse, whatever, and then all of a sudden everybody moves out, the kids move, you downsize, it’s your time. Redefine who you are. And it may take time. I keep saying, you know, over and over, nothing has to happen tomorrow. You may not figure it out right away. And that’s okay. But just have this intention that it’s “me” time and you’re not giving up ownership — that was the wrong way to say giving up, you know, parenting.

But you don’t have to do it every day anymore. Oh, my God. It’s so important. I could not. I mean, that is a “drop the mic,” Miss Comedian; that is exactly what people need to do more of. 

“If I’m wrapping my life around my children, then I miss it: opportunities to enjoy myself”

Susan
Yeah, I just… I think we don’t give ourselves, like — how come you can’t say Grandma is going to be an astronaut, you know?

Yeah. You don’t hear that instead of Grandma is a grandma. Grandma went off to speak Portuguese. 

Rob
If you look, I could point to it, there’s a guitar. You know, I don’t even play the guitar, but I woke up about two weeks ago: “Hey, I think I want to play the guitar and sing three songs on stage.”

Never played the guitar. Never sung on stage. Right. If I’m wrapping my life around my children, then I miss it: opportunities to enjoy myself. I miss an opportunity to hang out with Susan. I mean, there’s all kinds of… I miss you all. David. Oh. What are you drinking, David? Oh, is he still here? Yeah. What are you drinking?

David
I know. It’s early here, man, so it’s, like, green tea. There you go. And there’s one great line, getting back to the moving: We don’t need as much stuff. All right, the older we get, the less stuff we need. The less stuff becomes important. Put it in a locker, put it in storage.

And Jerry Seinfeld has got this great quote. There you go. If you want your stuff put in storage, like, go visit it periodically. You don’t have to have it around you all the time. I love that energy. Agree with that. You don’t need as much. I take it back. I don’t need as much stuff as I used to.

Susan
Yeah, and it’s freedom. It really is freedom. The less stuff you have, the more mobile you are, the more freedom you have. 

David
Completely agree. Okay, very good. There we go. We solved that problem.

See medical disclaimer below. ↓

1 COMMENT

  1. My husband and I moved from Canada to Mexico 11 years ago, that was the first of many times “downsizing”. 9x in 11 years, I think I have it down to a fine art!
    I am 62 years young, our children have their own lives and do not need to have us living in the house they grew up in. We have fabulous 2 bedroom condo, we cook, garden, I am a photographer, president of the local camera club and even hav a few clients. However the best part, I have taken up BOXING. Life is short, enjoy it.
    \

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The ideas expressed here are solely the opinions of the author and are not researched or verified by AGEIST LLC, or anyone associated with AGEIST LLC. This material should not be construed as medical advice or recommendation, it is for informational use only. We encourage all readers to discuss with your qualified practitioners the relevance of the application of any of these ideas to your life. The recommendations contained herein are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You should always consult your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or stopping any treatment that has been prescribed for you by your physician or other qualified health provider. Please call your doctor or 911 immediately if you think you may have a medical or psychiatric emergency.

 

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