By Maria C. Ramos, Ed.D
This New Year will bring anticipated, as well as, unexpected transitions. Lately many people in our social group are anticipating their next big move. They are grappling with the same question: Where to live next? It is not just relocation that is being discussed, which is already loaded with transition questions. These conversations amongst baby boomers are fully loaded with genuinely difficult, mega transition questions: How long will I live? How do I make the most of the time left? What are the possibilities? All of these core issues are wrapped up in layers of practical considerations about living space, finances, health care, access, transportation, leisure, community, meaningful contribution and proximity to loved ones. For some this question ‘what’s the next move’ is also sealed with a note of finality as it is possibly the last move – ever in life. For others this question ‘what’s the next move’ is ripe with exciting possibilities that come with the freedom of a less encumbered easier lifestyle.
The scenarios differ of course depending on the people involved including singles, couples, and multigenerational families. Yet there are strong, identifiable themes. First, some people do not want to leave the home they love, but their homes cannot be retrofitted to ‘age in place’. Their homes are not aging friendly there are accessibility issues like inclines to entry, multiple floors or lots of maintenance. Second, some people are not yet ready to be ‘seniors’ and all that the label conjures up in terms of self-image and or lifestyle. Third, some are very ready to cut loose, right size, let go and move on. Yet, there is one thing they all seem to have in common the absolute dread of shedding all the stuff accumulated over many years. Even though most people recognize they will be unburdening their new life and paying forward a gift of work done to their heirs.
If you are one of the boomers grappling with the next move question, as a wise friend suggested, ponder this: Do I make my own decisions now or risk living with the decisions that others will make for me later? I know that will get most ‘independent’ boomers in motion! Here are some things to take with you during this transition.
- Be thankful you have choices
- Look for the positives in the alternatives
- Be gentle with your feelings and others too, as you plan and do
- Be optimistic about the process
- You are not alone, seek support
- Turn the problems into challenges to overcome
- Be true to your vision of a new home filled with joy and comfort
- Use all your fine-tuned life skills to make it so
- Remember a Do-Over is possible!