Every day the sun comes up, yet some days are different – and I don’t mean the weather. Birthdays and anniversaries and some other days have a special, personal, meaning, but I’ve discovered that on any day, sometimes an unexpected trigger will invoke a range of ‘feelings’. Especially when it’s connected to an historical event in our lives. A sudden thought, a place, a person, or an event can be enough to start my mind on a journey in time.
It was a moment like that recently, as I saw the contents of a huge removalist truck being disgorged into a nearby residential unit. I was jolted back in time to when Dorothy and I moved our home contents and our lives, here to this retirement village, well over a decade ago. Seeing that truck was enough to send my normally somnambulant mind whirling back to when we made the same move.
I began recollecting the range of emotions we both felt as we began the actual downsizing which had to start months before the actual move. I was thinking about the almost gut-wrenching decisions we made then. What to keep among our accumulated ‘things’ and which items were appropriate to discard – forever! We had a quite large home, designed and built to cope with our lives as the seven of us grew up together. And, like many other families over those years, we’d accumulated lots of ‘stuff’ and the winnowing just had to be done! Seeing that furniture van, the memories of our times of loading and unloading came racing back.
But I was also remembering the mental process, almost anguish, that preceded the physical downsize move. To know, and accept, when the time is right to make any radical change to our lifestyle is difficult – and not without stress. We had both agreed that being into our seventies, the tasks of maintaining a large home would soon engulf us. Our decision to not ‘age in place’ was not a minute too soon, as we later discovered when Dorothy’s Alzheimer’s was progressing apace.
Now, seeing that van being emptied of its treasures nearby I was reminded of how important it is for us all to consider where, and how, we live as we age. I am so grateful that we chose, a dozen or so years ago, to leave behind that house with its stairs, its maintenance, and the mowing! Here, now at Applewood in a beautiful garden setting, I live alone in a manageable-sized villa with none of the maintenance or other chores we had to deal with in our earlier home.
I have a supportive family and great neighbours, but I know one day my turn will come to make that next move to a different level of care. Several of my friends are now resident in various care homes nearby and I visit them all, so I know how they have adjusted to a different way of life, each with their different levels of health. It probably won’t be long until I need to join them and make that next transition….
Meanwhile, I enjoy comparatively good health and have lots to do yet! I can still get around to enjoy my friends and family, to do some travelling and can always reminisce on all those earlier happy times. Every day those great memories ‘make my day’, and, while I can, I’m making new memories every day.