With each passing day, more of us are becoming empty nesters; thinking about retiring and wondering what the next phase of our lives will look like. As we explore the possibilities, many of us are thinking about downsizing. I know about downsizing. I went from a three-story, 6,400 square foot house, in a large city, to a house that’s 22 feet by 22 feet—a total of 484 square feet—in the middle of nowhere. While James and I never questioned our decision, the Little House wasn’t meant to be our forever home. It was just an interim adventure; a temporary dwelling until we built a bigger house on another part of the ranch. At that point, the Little House, would become the guest casita.
A home is meant to have a life and to be filled with people, but you can’t fill a tiny house with people.
While tiny houses are all the rage, if you think you want to live in one, make sure it’s for the right reasons. Don’t get carried away with the romanticized notion of how cute it would be, or that it’s less house to maintain, or it’s cheaper. While those things are all true, downsizing isn’t easy.
For starters, downsizing requires lots of sacrifices. It’s a challenge to pare away all but the essentials, especially if you’ve accumulated a lifetime of things. Each room in your tiny house will have to do double duty. Gone is the media room, guest room and office. Sure you can do it, especially if push comes to financial shove, but unless it’s a matter of money, why would you want to go tiny?
There’s a plethora of Tiny House shows on TV where young marrieds opt to design and build a tiny house as a way to grow their nest egg and embark on a cool adventure. I get that, but single women, over a certain age, who buy a tiny house in what looks like the jungles of Hawaii—where they’ve never lived and don’t know a soul—are foolhardy. We are not our mothers’ generation, that’s for sure, but the romance of going barefoot and wearing flowers in our grey and thinning hair will wear off in a blink.
I love how our generation is finding ways to reinvent ourselves and buck traditions as we age. Regardless of how we’re defining the next phase of our life, I know this to be true: The older we get, the more we need to be around people; preferably friends and/or family who care about us. And if we’re honest with ourselves, there needs to be a medical facility in the vicinity.
A few months ago I blogged about finding the architectural plans for the house James and I were going to build and how I missed my things in storage. Since then, I’ve thought a lot about whether I want to continue to live in my Little House; sell the ranch and move back to the city; move to New York City, full-time, or find a slightly larger house in a neighborhood near where I already live.
I do know a home is meant to have a life and to be filled with people, but you can’t fill a tiny house with people. I also know it’s time for me to have a life other than work and work-related travel. I’m grateful to have so many options. I’ll keep you posted about what I decide to do.