over50feeling40: 5 Things I Have Learned About Change
Fashion and Lifestyle Blog for women over 50 to help achieve strength, confidence, joy, inspiration, and, of course, head-turning personal style!

Jan 15, 2013

5 Things I Have Learned About Change


How many books have been written about CHANGES as we enter middle age?  We know they are inevitable and the pace does feel like it picks up after age 50.  But, so often, I am just not prepared for those changes.
I understand what my birth certificate says, but I do not feel “elderly.”    The idea that I am almost 20 years from eighty still does not compute.  Wow…even typing the words is a little overwhelming. So, when my husband tells me we must make difficult decisions now, because we might regret not making them in the near future, it is still a foreign concept so very hard to grasp.
As I wrote yesterday, when the economy began to tank big time around three years ago, my husband was laid off by his employer.  The company headquartered in New York City decided to lay off employees who were flying in to work from other locations… it actually made sense to me, though hard to take and especially hard on him. I love NYC, however we did not want to move there… too far away from our children.

It is so much more difficult to make a career change and discover new employment when over fifty.  At that time, there were several men on our street with the same issues.  A couple of them turned to alcohol to solve their pain and one is still in the bottle today.   My husband did not believe in taking money from the government to live, so we ate through our savings and racked up credit while helping adult children with weddings and college.
Thank goodness he is employed today and really loves his job, but we are suffering the consequences of going through this time.  I write all of this to tell you that we (more him than I) have decided to sell our home.  The decision has broken my heart.  I just do not want to say goodbye.
But, here is the first lesson I have learned about changes….DO NOT HOLD ON TO ANYTHING TOO TIGHTLY.  By selling this home, I might have security in the future which might not otherwise exist.  So, it is time to pry open my hands and say goodbye to this place I have loved so much.


Here is what I have decided about this type of change:
      1. Be realistic and stop living in a dream world:  I am closer to 80 than to 30.  The economy is not getting better.
      2. Begin mapping memories of moments and things I love.  My young family lived in a 1100 square foot home on Larchmont Street for several years and it held special times for us while there, even though we knew we would need more space as the family grew. When we moved to the CURRENT HOME THAT I LOVE, I brought an oak tree with me from Larchmont.  I had grown it from acorns of our red oak my favorite tree right in the front yard.  The Larchmont Oak Tree grows strong and sturdy in our current back yard today…it will be so sad to bid it farewell, but I am taking pictures of it for my memories.
The Larchmont Tree

     3. It is just a house.  There is no reason to hold on to it so tightly…I must release it and go forward.  The children who ran up and down the stairs and slammed the doors are grown and gone.
     4. See the future as a new adventure.  It is not going to be painful to decorate a new living space, but a joy and fun.  I can choose to wallow in the sad good bye, or rejoice in the new hello!
    5.  I think about the family who will buy our home…may the house and the Larchmont Tree be a blessing to them!

I know that it will be sometime before a new owner appears on the scene.  But, it is important that I part ways now with the house emotionally.  Oh well, today I am sitting here….loving my desk, my bedroom, the fireplaces…..and they all make me smile!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!  Thank you for allowing me a post not about fashion or style!

35 comments:

  1. One thing I think about change is that thinking about it is worse than anything. As far as I can tell you have a lovely home, recently painted, cheerfully decorated, my wish is that it will sell quickly.

    You can go off in search of a new place, maybe it'll need a little work, but before you know it you'll be busy picking out paint, selling off old furniture, buying new (to you) furniture and turning it into Grandma's house.

    Best wishes!

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  2. Start taking leaves from your treasured Larchmont Oak Tree, and press them! At some stage in the future you will see the perfect way to frame, or use them in your new home as a textural/3D way to remember.
    You are strong enough to move forward, support and embrace this move to a new home - lovely new memories and fun times are ahead...J

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  3. Hi Pam.
    Your post resonated with me because there have been changes here too. I picked up a book that I hadnt read in a long time. it was Sarah Breatnach Bon's simple abundance. There was two meditations ...There is no scarcity and Gratitude awakening the heart for Janauary. Both deal with worries over money and feelings of lack
    Quote" Worries about money mock you. They steal the joy of living because they follow you around all day like a dark, menacing shadow. At night they hover at the foot of your bed waiting to rob you of sleep.....
    Only you have the power to change your lifestyle and move from a feeling of lack and deprivation to a feeling of abundance and fulfillment."

    Selling your home will give you some serenity. Perhaps you can find something smaller, easier to clean, less maintenance for you both so that you can really enjoy that which you do have - each other, grand children etc, more time for you love of writing etc.

    Hugs to you

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  4. So much truth here, Pam. It's posts like this one that make you someone real to your readers; someone we can identify with. I'm sure many others join me as we look forward to following you on the next leg of your life's journey.

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  5. I feel sad about your having to sell your beloved home. If there is any comfort in it, imagine your new life in a new home that will also be beautiful, I am sure, and imagine being rid of the stress and worry of money woes.

    I love what Barbara above says about money worries stealing your joy....it's so true.
    Wherever you land, I bet you will be happy because you always seem so positive and a glass half full type of person.

    I'll be thinking of you during this difficult time of transition.
    xoxo, A

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  6. Hi Pam, I'm so sorry to hear of your sadness. If you and your husband are able, I urge you to pause before selling your home. Just long enough to help your emotions to catch up with your logical thinking. Your positive points do make perfect sense, but if your heart is not in the same place, it will be a more difficult transition. I speak from my own experience. We made a sensible decision to sell a home dear to us, and it happened so quickly,and I was so not ready for the change. At times, I still question the decision years later. You may think you will never be ready, that if you waited until you were ready you would effectively never move. But I believe that there are steps you can take to help you feel excited and content with your decision. And it's much easier to take those steps before realtors and prospective purchasers assess your property with a critical eye.
    Take care, Sue xo

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  7. Oh, I wish I could come for coffee with you. As I shared in a recent e-mail with you, there are huge changes at our house and my pending retirement is somewhat forced. I too am very attached to our huge rambling home and it would actually alleviate so many of my worries about the future to part with our home! I would for sure take some of the acorns with you and plant yet another tree wherever you find yourselves. You ARE making wise choices for the future.

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  8. Change is so hard at any age. This year has been one of many changes for me and I suspect more to come in the next few years. I have learned to roll with them, because you can't fight them and that around each corner are better things waiting for me. Remember, a house is just four walls and a roof, what makes a home is the love that is inside that house, and you have a ton of love with your husband to lend to a new roof and four walls!

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  9. First, super cute coat you are wearing
    Second, it's not the house that will be missed but the memories. Take it from someone who used to move every 3 years. You can make any house a home with your special touches and it will feel like you have been there the whole time. The person makes the home, otherwise it is just a house!!
    Brett

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  10. I feel for you! How sad to have a home you love that you need to say goodbye to. My husband and I also need to move. Like your house on Larchmont my little house is too small, less than 900 square feet, so we are trying to figure out how to move to a larger space. I should be excited, but I'm just nervous and worried about the future. I don't like change. It scares me and I've never been one to embrace it. Good luck! I'm sure everything will turn out OK, but its still scary.

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  11. And while you are working through the emotions associated with this change, the gratitude that you have will also come forward more. You were able to do what was a priority for you, which was pay for college for kids. Some of us might have made different choices, but you were able to follow through with your choice and now a change is needed in the location of the home fires.

    I think moving from a place you love and value is hard. Under any circumstance. Don't forget that it is OK to grieve the loss. And it is a loss. A home isn't just four walls to me, it means safety, security, sanctuary. Each home can provide these things, but it doesn't happen immediately.

    You are in a wonderful place to think about what a home needs to provide as you (and all of us) are heading into the "golden" years. Ease of mobility in the home, location to services that are needed as we age (medical, etc.), activities to keep us young in mind and spirit (neighborhood rec centers, college classes, etc)

    The wonderful thing about change is we are mentally challenged and physically busy with those challenges. I hope everything turns out wonderfully in this next phase.

    Gloria

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  12. I have been through many changes in my life including leaving houses I loved. It can make you stronger.we are living through tough economic times my son in law has just been made redundant with my daughter expecting her second child. He is setting up his own consultancy so we can only pray it works. He did not like his job so it may be the best opportunity ever. None of us know what is round the corner except change is inevitable all we can do is stay open to it. Good luck.

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  13. Such a good post, dear Pam.
    I have never been attached to material things, so it is very easy for me to let go on and flow. I have learned through the years to be a reed in the wind rather than a brunch.
    Have a lovely day.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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  14. Pam I too am so sorry to hear about your situation, but change can sometimes bring wonderful new surprises. Your husband thankfully is looking out for your future so he sounds like a thoughtful man. Our homes can house such wonderful memories for us, but you can take those memories with you whereever you go.

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  15. I hope you move through the letting go stage of this change with as little pain as possible and start seeing the new opportunities that are around the corner! You have reinvented yourself in many ways and perhaps there is a new living situation that will fell as reinvigorating and bring joy and freedom to your lifestyle. Good luck with the whole selling & moving process.

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  16. What you have written so fully resonates with me, Pam. We recently left our beloved cottage and moved to a new space that held no memories for us -- yet! But we can only move in one direction, forward, and I know you will find the joy. Best thoughts go your way in this transition. xoxoxo

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  17. The good thing about change is that it gives you so many new opportunities! I can relate to you thinking about 80 being near - for me it's turning 50, I'm 6 years away - I still feel 18 ... Some days 12 (those days are the most fun). :)

    I feel for you having to sell your house but I'm excited for the adventures that await you.

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  18. Pam, did you write this for me directly? Oh my, I have been having panic attacks and anxiety. The ex is trying to force the sale of the house. We are in a very suburban town and there are no rentals. It's important to keep my daughter in the district so she can finish up high school and we can't be get school choice at the current time. I have been sick over it. I am a homebody. We built this house. It has been a sense of security through all of the pain. Losing a marriage, the family as I knew it, financial means and now the house? It all feels like too much. I understand the difficulty letting go. xo

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  19. Thank you Pam for sharing this as I am facing so many of the issues you have dealt with head on. I love the imagine of the Larchmont Oak Tree storing your sacred memories. In my ex-pat life I have moved dozens of times and always found another special tree in the area to draw strength from.

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  20. I believe that we are all plagued with change and the effects on our minds and hearts. Over the last 10 years I have endured changes I thought I would not survive. The most unbearable, by far, the loss of my dear son last year. I fortunately still have my home, and this is where he spent his last years, building, upgrading and working on projects. He was born to this house and died in this house. We have discussed the same option as you are considering and my final decision, for now anyway, is that I cannot leave here. I will find a way, no matter what, to stay in this big house, with 7 acres of land and all the work that entails until the end. That is how I feel today and making that decision, for now, is the right one. It may not be in the future. My older son lives about 1 hour away, he helps when he is able. I will cross that bridge when it comes. I hope your transition goes well. You are right to start the emotional detach soon. It will never be easy. Memories are so powerful, but my best wishes to you. You have your children and their families. What could be better?

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  21. Your post really resonated with me. We are getting ready to see the dream house we built 20 years ago. My dad, before his stroke, planted 18 gorgeous peonies that people drive past just to see. I hope I can take them with me, but if we move south I doubt that's possible. I love my ranch and the memories it holds of my son growing up and visitors who are now gone. We made a life here, yet I know it's time to move on (and downsize!!). Thanks for the gentle reminders that the house is just a thing; the important thing is to be happy with yourself and those you love. Cathy, An Empowered Spirit

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  22. I love your blog and the honesty that you speak about so many of us facing change!! Thank you for letting us know that we are not the only ones that have to deal with the reality of children leaving the nest, of a house that was so full and will soon be quiet, and the "adventures" that come with all of that!! However I think you will be fine, you have a great attitude and you are embracing your "change". Thanks for the wise words!

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  23. Wonderful Post Pam!! It will be a new adventure and a new home your grandkids will remember!!

    I know what it's like when your spouse becomes unemployed.. Mine was for almost 2 years.

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  24. Pam, I really have enjoyed stumbling upon your blog! This content is lovely and powerful. I feel like we have all lost a cherished home in some way thru our lives, these are great positive words for embracing change!

    -Nico

    www.SatinAndsalt.com

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  25. pam...i know! 14 years ago my husband said 'my turn now' and wanted to sell our big family home and move to the country so his horses and he could live on the same dirt. sadly, i saw his point and move we did. i have to say it was the best thing we ever did. we bought a wreak of a house but a great piece of property..me, still sad. the process of making it our own was amazing. house is small but has a big heart and everyone gathers here and doesn't want to leave. a adventure awaits you and your husband.
    note corrine...our son died 6 years ago. sending you a warm hug and offer this.you will not have the energy for much for a few years. if you can stay put good. as the years pass you will find a place in your heart for your son and you will go forward again. for me, i still cry everyday and always will but have found life to be joyful again. it is what he would want for us. xo
    bv

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  26. Dearest Pam,
    My father taught me long ago that the structures we live in are meaningless. It is the people who inhabit the buildings that are important. Wherever you call home will be full of love and happy tomorrows.

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  27. Oh Pam! This post made me so sad. I can just imagine how you feel.
    My MIL (a very wise woman) always tells me to enjoy this time...the time that the children are young, running around the house etc even if it's hard right now, later, it's even harder. The empty nest, deciding to sell your "now too large" home for that or other reasons.
    Cherish the time you spent there...the memories you made and know that wherever you next lay your hat, new memories are sure to be created!!

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  28. It is hard to give up a home one loves. I hope you find another home that you can love just as much. We moved about 9 years ago partly because we lived in a 2 story house and the stairs were getting harder to navigate safely. We now live in a ranch house and I love it. It is easier for us and hopefully it will be some years yet before we have to make a decision on when to leave this house to go to assisted living or something like that. I wish the best for you and your husband.

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  29. It's so difficult everywhere at the moment, the economy is impacting on us all. But you are taking a sensible approach - wishing you the best of luck with your new adventure.

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  30. Pam, what a great and inspiring post.
    The photos of your beloved oak are beautiful.

    You know what's scary? That age math that you did! I'm there too - eeeeeek!

    I currently live in a house with a rent way under market because my boyfriend has been a tenant for more than 25 years. We live in fear that the landlady (or her children) will put it on the market -- we can't afford 2013 rent on our square footage -- we'd have to move out of LA (potentially a crisis for the BF, who has lived his 57 years within 7 miles of where he was born)!

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  31. I completely understand what this post is about. I'm facing 50 but I keep thinking I'm 30 because I got pregnant again four years ago. So, yes, I have a child again around the house. The other kids are grown and gone. My husband also lost his job and was out of work for two years. We ate our way through our savings and wracked up credit again. We were just able to pay off the credit and my husband just got another job, at long last. But, having a small child around the house again makes things tricky and I'm constantly battling whether to stay at home to raise him or continue working to build up our savings again.

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  32. Government assistance is not shameful when you are unemployed. Hope you do not regret your decision. When you are retired and do not have the savings needed it could be a problem.

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  33. Thank you for sharing your life and the changes that go with it. You continue to inspire me and your writing is magnificent.

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  34. Thank you for your post. I too am in my fifties and lost my home last year and had to move in to the apartment my two sons share .... not exactly what I had planned for my life at this point. I say that to explain that I totally understand how you feel. I hope that your changes will go smoothly and that you will find many unexpected joys along the way.

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Thanks so much for joining in our conversation today! I appreciate your time and love hearing from you!