I had quit working my 9 to 5 the previous year. About this same time, I started feeling like I needed to move. It wasn’t that I wanted to move as I had been in the same home for fifteen years so there was a lot of accumulation of ‘stuff’ that I would need to sort through. But the feeling just wouldn’t leave me – it was time to move. Being 65 and having quit working, it did seem like the ‘normal’ thing to do at this stage of life was to ‘downsize.’ However, I was still feeling young and vital, and not quite ready for a retirement village although I did go look at a few which confirmed this wasn’t my move. I felt open to whatever the next stage of life was going to bring.
I started to look at houses, duplexes, townhouses, apartments. Every agent I contacted quickly pegged me as a retiree who was downsizing. I had to convince them to show me everything that met my criteria of being fairly new, in a nice neighbourhood, big windows, lots of light, and of course, in my price range. Because I was willing to also consider moving to an adjoining shire, I soon discovered there were quite a few properties for me to inspect.
In the meantime, I was diligently cleaning out the attic and the closets, sorting things into the give away pile, the garage sale pile, the keeping pile etc. I contacted a local agent who I had known for years and told her that I was ready to put my house on the market. She was a woman about my age and her first comment when she arrived was, “Yes, we’re at that stage of life when its time to downsize.” I said I wasn’t sure about that – but it was as if she couldn’t hear me because she was so fixed on the idea that people downsize when they retire. When she brought her assistant around a few days later to help me complete the paperwork, she told the assistant I was downsizing! Then the following week she brought her whole sales team around so that everyone in the office would know my house. She told all of them that I was downsizing. I tried to correct that assumption – but I could tell they just weren’t listening.
Fortunately, while out inspecting other homes for sale I came across an agent who did hear me and she started showing me some lovely big homes. I immediately realized that after living alone for 20 years, I was ready to have a housemate and get into shared living. I also had a friend who was doing airbnb and really enjoying meeting people from all around the world who were visiting our area. This sounded like fun and would provide some additional income. I found the perfect home in a matter of a couple of weeks (with the agent who didn’t have me locked into downsizing!) And the agent I had listed my house with had a buyer within ten days. So it was all done and dusted in the proverbial blink of an eye. I moved a few weeks later.
My new home has two master bedrooms with en suites – perfect for house sharing. It also has two other bedrooms that I rent out on a per night basis. I’m listed with a nearby college and have students stay with me who come for courses. And I also let the rooms through Airbnb. I love having a house filled with people. Yes, renting rooms on a per night / per week basis is a fair bit of work – good thing I’m still feeling young and vital!
I have since become accredited as an esoteric yoga practitioner and have the space in my new home to give private and group sessions. With a large lounge area, I decided to start a monthly book reading group. I have staged a few photo shoots at my house for different projects I’m working on. There’s more but you get the picture – I’ve found a beautiful house to call home and I’m making it available to as many people as possible to enjoy.
I think how different my life would be as a ‘retiree’ who had downsized!! By upsizing, I feel like my life has expanded to include a lot more people and a lot more fun.
Gayle Cue loves writing about life, reflecting on every day miracles and pondering on the big picture.
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