Rightsizing: Unexpected Gifts

The “house of my dreams” that the author had to leave.

Before I could put the house on the market, a friend told me about a nearby condominium that had been renovated and was up for sale. It was perfect, the answer to a prayer—ten minutes from my old neighborhood. Pets were permitted, so I could bring my cat. I scrambled to get a mortgage for my house to buy the condo. Down to the wire, the house was sold one week before I went to settlement.

At the age of 72, I’m now able to step back, take a deep breath, and look at my new life.

The condo reminds me of my first apartment, when I was excited to live alone. It was fun going to tag sales again, supplementing the few pieces of furniture I brought with me with things from other people’s houses.  Maybe the butler’s table, the lamps, the loveseat, had belonged to women like me, who were “rightsizing” their lives and their homes.

I’ve reclaimed parts of that lost girl—writing poetry, keeping dream journals, widening my circle of friends. I joined a writers’ group and a spiritual book club. We meet in each other’s houses. Within walking distance of the condo is the Lifelong Learning Institute, where I’m taking classes in Family History Narratives, How to Be a Mentor, and teaching beginners’ yoga.  I’ve just enrolled in a new class called How to Be an Activist.  It’s the 1960s all over again!

Beyond the trees, the condominium that turned out to be just the right size.

Instead of meditating on the back porch at my old house, I relax on one of my two balconies, overlooking the park, with my cat beside me. What a relief to have no worries about finances—or the roof, the basement, or falling down the stairs with a basket of laundry!  I’ll be joining a group from my church on a choral pilgrimage to England this summer.

My new home and returned self have become gifts I could never have imagined.

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  • Cheri Tyree March 14, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    Beautiful Linda! Thanks for sharing. We all need to be reminded of how few “things” we really need to be happy and how much better if we could all leave a smaller footprint on this fragile earth! Keep on rabble rousing!

  • patricia yarberry allen March 2, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    Thank you for sharing your journey to rightsizing your life after loss of your husband a change in economic circumstances. Most life stages offer us a chance to re-frame loss and focus on a new adventure. So glad that you were able to rightsize in your community. I hope that you feel “lighter” now without the burdens of so many collected things. Do send us another post in six months about the continued process of rightsizing!
    We wish you much happiness in your new home.