Sunday, June 17, 2012

Smaller is Sometimes Better

It’s time to downsize. If they’re designing 400 square feet apartments in Toronto—the size of a double garage—and if Ikea can build a home in 382 square feet, why do we need 1,500 or 3,000 to live in, particularly for empty nesters like ourselves?

I can understand space for a growing family, a place for kids to play, do homework, hang out with friends or surf the web, as well as private space for mom and dad—happy father’s day, all you duds dads—to retreat to, and a small bus to fit all those kiddie seats in, and a smaller economic conveyance for shopping, and . . .

I’ve always told Ann that if she flies away first, I’ll buy a double garage and fit it up from Ikea—it’s all I’d need to live in. But I couldn’t inflict that on her; she deserves better. However, she called me to account—stop talking and act on it now!

Age is also catching up. Too many old people remain in accommodation they can’t cope with due to failing bodies. Then it becomes an emergency. We decided—together!—to make the switch while we can, not when we have to.

So now we are refitting a 550 square feet lower level for less space to live, no stairs to climb, and level access off the street. Less cleaning, less “stuff,” and we’ll practise a closer, much closer relationship. We’ve had long enough for needed practice at that.

We are blessed that our original design, when built eight years ago, lends itself to this transformation. We could, of course, claim prophetic vision: it wasn’t. We could claim our downsizing is an environmental pursuit, or a pious release of at least some of this world’s goods. It isn’t either.

It just seems the right thing to do. We have seen too many older folk, not only living in large abodes they can’t handle, but also becoming a burden on their children, who, in many cases, have become their exhausted parents.

Aging parents could become concern enough. We want to mitigate that for our kids, their kids and their kids, while we still have time to plan any declining future we may face.

It just seems the right thing to do.

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