a Resident's View
Time has a way of slipping by without much notice. There is no way of stopping the clock or even taking a time-out. Time marches on! What we do with our time as an active adult is a personal matter.
Every day, every year, every decade means that we are getting older. It can be difficult to accept the fact that we are aging. It is easy to think like a much younger man but, then realize that I am not that young man anymore. When I discuss an event that occurred in 1960, or 1979 or even 1986, it seems like it was just a few years ago. What has happened to the time of our lives? How should one deal with the passing of time? What are some of the issues that we may have to deal with as we age?
CHANGE IS INEVITABLE
One thing is constant in the aging process and that is change. There is a change in the looks and function of our bodies. There is usually a change in our thinking and relating processes. There may be a change in our level of comfort and confidence. And, there may be a change in the place we call “home.”
Even though time withers much of our personal being, there is still an option that allows us to control some of the direction of our lives. This is a unique opportunity that many have available, but only a few are willing to seize it.
As we reach our senior years, decisions have to be made consciously or unconsciously as to how we plan to live out the rest of our lives, or as referred to in the game of football, “The Fourth Quarter of Our Lives.” Some may prefer to make no adjustments in their lifestyle and maintain a home as they have for many years. As golfers would say, “play the ball where it lies and make no major changes.” This approach might come from someone who believes that they live in a nice neighborhood close to our good friends and change may be a threat. In either case, hard work is definitely ahead. Some may choose to just avoid change and ride out the “tides of life.”
Then, there are those who see the need to develop a “life plan” to optimize the next phase of life. As active adults go through the process of organizing possessions, they discover two very important words that will play a major role in their lives --- “downsizing” and “stuff.” Downsizing is a matter of “when” and not “if” for most of us. It is the process of “living in a smaller world” or space. You may have had a four-bedroom house located on an acre of land. As a downsizer, you may choose to give up the big house and corresponding maintenance for a two-bedroom, condo-quality apartment in a community that offers social engagement opportunities.
Downsizing is a matter of "when" and not "if" for active adults
Downsizing by definition is the act of getting rid of the accumulated “stuff” as the things in life that we have acquired over the years, such as the waffle maker or the picture of Aunt Alice at the World’s Fair. All things that take up space or are not needed any longer constitute “stuff.” It may be easier to understand that we all will have to downsize at some point in our lives as we can’t take it with us! We can do it willingly when health and economic conditions are favorable or, we can wait until there is simply no choice.
The process of getting rid of “stuff” that we have accumulated can be a very challenging ordeal. Many active adults believe that their children will be very anxious to “inherit” selected items from their parent’s place. For example, the very attractive silver service set which was once owned by a great-grandmother is a treasure, right? Newsflash! No, the “younger” generation does not want our “stuff.” It is a disappointing reality that most of the “stuff” will actually be sold at an auction or given away. Why not take charge of where it goes yourself?
As our lifestyles are adjusted to accommodate the possible changes that will most likely occur in our future, we need to realize and accept the fact that far more has changed than most of us had first anticipated. The good friends and former neighbors that we had cultivated over the years seldom or ever contact us for a social function and seem to have little interest In our desire to be sociable, we have met new friends in our active adult community who also are looking for friends and we truly enjoy their company. Forming friendships is much faster and new friends bring an inviting and refreshing atmosphere to our lives.
With few responsibilities at home, we are now able to travel to those enchanting places that have enticed us over the years. In addition, more time can be focused on creating a new relationship with our children and the grandchildren. It is amazing how beautiful and interesting they have become. Change is good. We are excited about enjoying our new world.
William "Bill" Forloine, Guest Blogger, Resident of Treplus Communities