Recently when I was once again extolling the virtues of cohousing to a friend I used the term downsizing to describe moving into a smaller home as we age. The realization that many of us have homes and properties that are disperpositionalty necessary for our current lifestyles is fuelling the necessity for alternatives.
But what are the alternatives, a condo, maybe noisey and too big a step, just a smaller house, smaller maintenance but still the same complexities as a larger home, a duplex because shared walls make it more reasonably priced and less yard maintenance but probably has stairs?
It is a dilemma for sure. As a single person who loves the outdoors around me there are even less options. Most places are too big for a single person minimalist.
And what are the developers and town restrictions on sizes of homes doing to us? Don't they realize that there are thousands, no, millions, of boomers that want smaller living spaces. Oh yeah, I remember the rows of single homes with two car garages and three bedrooms and a rec room are the most profitably to build on single lots. And monster second houses that become anchors. They require massive maintenance and bank accounts to sustain. They are being built every day as symbols of success. And the authorities support this way of thinking. Taxes I guess.
I voiced the opinion that by downsizing they would have more time and energy for things they might prefer to do rather than mowing an acre of lawn or preforming the upkeep and expense necessary to maintain the " family home" My new friend said why don't you use the term right size instead. Ok, this seems logical but what is the right size? We still want a garden but maybe not so big. We still want the family to be able to visit and we maybe still want a workshop so we can repair the odd thing. Maybe we have a lot of books that we just can't part with. Maybe a boat that is parked beside the garage. Luckily we live close to nature so we have lots of toys. How could we possibly still have all these things but move into a condo which is probably of a more appropriate size.
I of course have the answer and maybe this time they will hear the merit in it. Laugh out Loud.
I tell them we figure this out together. Maybe we own the boat together and maybe we own a car together. Radical idea!? Maybe too much too soon? I watch as he rolls his eyes at me. Ok. How about we each have a small home and we share a lawn mower and a garden and weeding and watering duties? How about when you are having family visiting, you stay in my house, you give your house to your family and I stay with my sister for a few days? Woops, is that still too radical? Ok, we would have to form a bond of trust first. " How would we do that ?" your ask. "Well how about if we sit around a table and talk." I reply. Radical I suppose, but interesting I would imaging. "Then maybe we could meet together over coffee or a meal and figure out how this really might work." I say.
And then the miracles begin to happen. " Wow I didn't know that you were interested in fly fishing; you know I tie my own flys." "What are you doing on Friday?" "Damm, we have that darn cohousing meeting to decide if we want a hot tub". Are you getting the picture?