I bet my realtor is going to roll his eyes when he reads this. After child-rearing, being single again and empty-nesting for a bit, I decided I needed to downsize and to give up the calm of the golf course for the verve of living in the city. So, after surviving a triple bypass, a brush with the dreaded coronavirus and three months of homelessness until I finally closed on my city place, I thought I would be in bliss. Now that I have been in my new, much smaller space, I am questioning myself. Maybe I should give it some time, but I think I am having a midlife real estate crisis.
The thing I am torn about is whether it is better to be in a single-family home or a high-rise condo. One ensures privacy, while the other can combat any feelings of loneliness. I deal with the design of homes and real estate on a daily basis, and I thought I knew what I wanted — but perhaps I don't know myself as well as I thought. Knowing yourself when it comes to what kind of home best suits your life is extremely important. Perhaps a three-story townhome is fine while you are in your thirties with a growing family, but after you hit that half-century mark, your knees and hips may not appreciate the climb.
As you get older, what once were "musts" fade, and other creature comforts take precedence. Don't get me wrong; aesthetics matter at any age, perhaps more so now as our physical appearances are not what they used to be. Many older homeowners feel their home represents their face to the world. A great deal of pride and self-worth comes from having a home that represents you, and that, above all, is comfortable.
What do you need to be comfortable? Is it a large area where friends and family can gather for conversation, a spalike bathroom, a tricked-out kitchen or tons of wall space for art? Transitioning to a smaller place may not allow you to have all of your wants, but focus on the things most important to you so you can be happy with your new space in your new life. Downsizing can mean heartbreak, and it may involve getting rid of things that have been with you over decades and perhaps have sentimental value. Simplifying your life is what this is all about, so rather than fighting the purge, embrace it as part of a new beginning.
In the end, whether you decide to keep some of your furniture or get rid of it all and start over, downsizing is an opportunity to redefine who you are from a stylistic point of view and a chance to explore what is comfortable to you at this time in your life. I am still adapting and getting used to the new me.
Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Florida. To find out more about Joseph Pubillones, or to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.