home_downsizing_westmountmag

Should I move or stay?

By Marylin Smith Carsley

For many years now, my bedroom window has framed the most spectacular outdoor scenery. Autumn is vibrant in its array of colours, winter designs patterns of drifting snow, spring breathes life into the greenery, and summer floods my room with sunshine and warmth. To top it all off, the St. Lawrence River is also visible. Every morning I awaken and turn towards that window for my first glimpse of the day’s seasonal character. This daily vision is a bonus that came with my house.

Did we want to remain homeowners or downsize our life and possessions to a more manageable scale? Could the condo route be a viable alternative?

When did all this home pride originate?  It occurred many years ago, when we purchased our home; the triumph of our settled life. It was an overwhelming decision and perhaps the most terrifying investment. Accompanying this acquisition was a seemingly new language. Terms such as mortgage, insurance, and insulation became standard features in conversations between my husband and me. Through the ensuing years, there were endless tasks such as renovation, decoration, landscaping, all carried out while we watched our children grow. There were happy milestones and tragedies, as well as many other unforgettable moments buried within each room. As soon as all these occasions faded into memories, the whirl of activity dissipated and 30 years had passed. The house became cloaked into a precipitous stillness, and dialogues relating to moving out begin to emerge. Did we want to remain homeowners or downsize our life and possessions to a more manageable scale? Could the condo route be a viable alternative?

Obvious reasons to scale down home responsibilities include the house being too overpowering to maintain, the stairs becoming too challenging to climb, and the constant repair work.

From afar, I have been witnessing this lifestyle change with curiosity and mild temptation through friends of mine who have reached this decision. Relinquishing a home that has been my sanctuary will never be easy, and I am apprehensive about ever having the courage to surrender it. To me, selling is equated with acute aging—the last residence—the last move!  I realize that it is an absurd way to perceive downsizing, but there is some truth to my rationale. The many obvious reasons to scale down home responsibilities include the house being too overpowering to maintain, the stairs becoming too challenging to climb, and the constant repair work. This conclusion of the homeowner era spells out finale and I am nowhere near that yet. I believe that in giving up my house, I am relinquishing youthfulness a bit earlier than necessary. I am most definitely not in a hurry to move on and out!

I have been appreciated living in a home and area that I believe surpasses all others.

Westmount offers many choices

Beautiful condos and apartments are available in the Westmount area for that transition. They are architecturally unique with historic facades along with modern developments and enhancements. A few years ago, when we had an impulsive selling urge, we looked along Sherbrooke Street, Greene Avenue, Ste. Catherine Street, de Maisonneuve Boulevard, Wood Avenue, and other areas. We discovered the many choices and reviewed all the options.  Obviously, there were so many benefits in simplifying and during the past couple of years I have observed many friends taking this leap. Their accounts about the packing process had a nightmarish quality, but truthfully there is a cleansing feeling when expelling insignificant material goods. On another note, there are also some unrecognized benefits in owning a home. Besides that luxurious feeling of space, the numerous stairs that people complain about are integrated into my fitness regime. During the day I run up- and downstairs countless times because my laundry room is in the basement. I consider this to be a healthy feature.

Do I want to downsize? Do I want to live with rules, share parking, and pay condo fees?

It has been 31 years since we moved in. Each day of all those years, I have been appreciated living in a home and area that I believe surpasses all others. My home is not very large, but it provides ample space and it resonates with peace. It has also taken me years to reach my decorative goals, and I want to relish the renovations for a longer period. When my two grandsons arrive, they energize the home, and holidays open the doors to bursts of activity. There are some lulls, but I do not mind them as I relish the quiet as well. Do I want to downsize? Do I want to live with rules, share parking, and pay condo fees? Most of all, am I ready to relinquish our backyard where each summer we cherish nature’s gifts among the trees, flowers and birds? When the weather permits, my husband will come home at the end of a day and head directly out to his comfortable lawn chair in his favourite place—the backyard!

For others, this decision may occur when the kids leave or when the house is a burden and no longer a pleasure.

The final consensus concerning this downsize choice is that it is no longer a question to be dealt with, as for now we are remaining in a home that still provides us with the life we desire. For others, this decision may occur when the kids leave or when the house is a burden and no longer a pleasure. Everyone has priorities, and others may follow their contemporaries, as this other fad has been catching on. I am in no hurry and as far as following the trends of my generation, I rarely do. This year, I travelled through our seemingly never-ending winter appreciating the season in my own way while many of my acquaintances headed south. Maybe one day I will follow my contemporaries… but probably not. For now, I am staying home!

Image: Alex Brown via StockPholio.net


Marylin Smith Carsley is a Westmount writer whose work has appeared in several publications.  



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