True story:: Sometimes I miss my old home. I don’t miss the house itself as much as I miss its privacy and sense of place. There, with no one living directly behind us, we had a long screened-in porch that opened up the back of the house to the outdoors.
On crisp fall days and warm summer nights, we kept the windows and doors to our verdant back yard wide open as often as possible, making it feel like we lived a tree house. We are so grateful to be the stewards of this little slice of heaven for so long::
While we renovate the new place, our interim home makes it feel like we are living in VEGAS! because it’s impossible to tell what time of day it is or if it’s nice outside. If you don’t open the blinds or crack a window there is measure of sensory deprivation.
I have witnesses, if you need them to verify.
Since the process of selling our house was initiated by the buyer and closing leaves sellers in flux, I had not properly prepared for making the decision about the best place for us to live while we renovate the Cottage. Even though the apartment we’re renting is perfectly lovely, I didn’t choose our temporary digs wisely.
I’m not complaining here, just taking responsibility and stating the facts.
Do not feel sorry for me. We down-sized from a large house with 23 windows and 7 sets of French doors, to a two bedroom apartment with 3 windows and one door leading to a hallway shared with 9 other apartments. I’m not the only one who appears to be bound by the limitations of our building. Everyone seems to avoid loitering in the hall or out on the stoop as much as possible.
We’ve been here 6 months and I don’t know any of my neighbors.
Here’s how the morning used to greet me::
There’s nothing like rising with the sun. It keeps your body clock in rhythm and, unlike a noisy alarm, gets you up and about in a gentle way.
And here is how the morning would greet me now, if I didn’t have to keep the blinds closed 90% of the time because there is a car (right the moment it is a Nissan Pathfinder) parked outside our bedroom window::
I took that before we moved in.
Living in one place for 20 years has its plusses: You know which sounds are normal and which ones are not; you know where all the light switches and electrical outlets are located without having to think about it; you understand exactly how temperamental the HVAC is and that 68º on the thermostat really means 65º…comforting little things like that.
Learning to live with what sounds like a herd of elephants above you (but in actuality is a couple with teenagers, a Giant Schnoodle, and a penchant for screaming their way through just about every discussion they engage in), fighting for a space in an overcrowded parking lot, and not having direct access to any space outdoors is a challenge.
Not a problem, but definitely an experience, especially after 20 years of only hearing our children yell at or laugh with each other while they stomped around upstairs, always having my parking spot inside our garage, and enjoying all the outdoor space a girl could ask for.
Listening to another couple battle it out at 100 decibels is not my idea of a good time, BTW.
What I’ve learned from this segment of our move is that, if I had it to do over again we would be living in a unit with a patio or porch and maybe not on the first floor. It’s great for bringing in groceries, but ruins sleeping with the windows open or letting fall breezes air the place out. I didn’t anticipate being here for this long and we still have a few months to go before the Cottage is move-in ready. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely place and I’m grateful to have it, but it was the wrong choice for us and I owe my husband an apology.
It would be so nice to be typing this on a porch right now or maybe from a treehouse, like my friend Lynne.
The Cottage will most assuredly be oriented to the outdoors, with as much light and access to the yard as I can squeeze into that little box without causing it to collapse. Living in this dark apartment is an excellent reminder of how important natural light is to our health and well-being. I used to be so keenly aware of it, I wrote my senior thesis about it, but guess living in the old house caused me to take it for granted.
Never again. Daylight is a Lifeline.
Wondering how other mid-lifers handled making their moves, I went to a group of women with a few years and different kinds of experiences under their belt, The Women of Midlife Blvd. I asked them to talk about the decision to move, what surprised them most about making a big transition at this stage, if they had any advice to share with you, and if moving–be it downsizing, right-sizing, or upsizing–in midlife affected them differently than it did when they were younger.
Here is what 10 of them had to say::Thank you, Ladies! There are lots of great observations from this group of lovelies. One can only imagine how challenging it is to have to move because of loss–or to move 21 times!
Now that I know better, the best advice I have to offer you about making a midlife transition is not to sacrifice amenities for location, even if it’s a temporary change of address like ours. If you’re lucky and smart enough to find a place with a balcony, or at least a unit on a higher floor so you feel safe leaving the windows open, then I tip my hat to you.
Don’t be like me and jump on an apartment or house because it’s in the perfect location and has just been remodeled and no one else lived in its newness yet. My bad. It’s saving graces are it’s central location and plethora of sidewalk lined streets nearby.
After 20 years of living in the Big House and six months of living in My Own Private Vegas, here’s what I know about moving at any age::Have you made a big midlife move recently? Bless you. What did you find surprisingly difficult or liberating? I once had a friend who found a really old sweet potato in her son’s toy box. What’s the weirdest thing you found while packing or unpacking? Tell me about in the comments, because I really, really, really want to know!
I’m off to the slot machine I mean washing machine.