A Time for Downsizing

2011Yard 014   Dsc_8455   IMG_2643

[NOTE: Last Wednesday was an unsaved post. Today’s problem was Internet speed. Sorry this is late.]

When my first wife and I decided to divorce, I was faced with a decision. Many of them, actually. But the one I’m talking about now was where to live. And not just where, but how.

We planned to sell our less than ten-years-old 2100 square-foot house. I had no idea whether I would ever marry again, but our daughter was going to live with her mom and visit me as often as she could. So I wouldn’t need but so much space. I certainly didn’t need a house or a mortgage.

At the same time, I didn’t want to throw my money away each month on an apartment that might  not even provide the kind of peaceful atmosphere I longed for.

My ex- and I had once lived in a mobile home. Yes, there are “trailers” out there, but please don’t label all mobile homes that way. We’d lived in such a well-kept park that we got notices from the front office if we failed to cut the grass when it needed it. But at least the home had been ours, and it had provided every advantage we needed at the time.

And living in a house–even a new one–sometimes left me missing the kind of compact living I’d once been used to.

So a mobile home seemed to be a natural solution. Because my ex- and I were on good speaking terms, I let her join me on my home-shopping expeditions. In fact, I followed her advice about which of two homes to buy, and I’m glad I did.

My new home had close to 1200 square feet of space, and–considering how compactly mobile homes are designed–I probably had more usable space than I would’ve had in an apartment of comparable size.

My share from the sale of the house didn’t quite cover the complete cost of my new home, but I borrowed from an annuity to pay cash for the balance. Paying my annuity back was a pleasure. Less so my monthly land rent.

I was thrilled with my purchase. I designated one of the three bedrooms as my daughter’s and turned the third bedroom into a music room, where I could record and listen to music to my heart’s content.

I moved into the mobile home years before I was old enough to retire. My wife (yes, I did remarry) and I agreed that this would be all we needed. Neither of us is much interested in things. Especially useless things that just sit around and collect dust.

So this kind of lifestyle–with its limited space–has kept us well-motivated to be careful about buying only things we really need–and a few of the things we want as well.

But when one of us dies, at least the surviving spouse won’t face what my ex- and I did when my mother died a year after my father. Their attic was full of more stuff than we could figure out what to do with, and it took months for us to go through enough of the important papers to conclude that my mother must not have had life insurance.

So we highly recommend downsizing when the time comes.

Have you faced anything similar? Please leave a comment.


I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”check it out here. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list here.

Best regards,


If You Lived Here…

yucca     pyracantha     Mockingbird      PearlyGates

If you drive around Richmond for a while, you’ll probably see one or more signs that say, “If you lived here, you’d be home.” While that might attract some people, I’d be more interested in where I started and how I reached wherever I’d gotten to. No matter how nice stopping might be, I could end up quite a distance from other places I’d like to be.

I love home, and I love being home. At this stage of our lives, my wife and I are thankful to have a nice mobile home that’s paid for rather than a fancy “real” house that has a seemingly never-ending mortgage.

Practically everyone in our community waves when we’re out walking, and most of the neighborhood kids have learned that our dog’s name is Happy—and that she is a wigglesome bunch of happiness who’d probably lick an intruder to death.

Not that we need to worry about intruders. People here keep watch on everything that’s going on. On those rare occasions when a stranger ignores the “No trespassing, no soliciting” sign, a resident will call the sheriff’s office and let them send somebody out to determine who the trespasser is and what he or she is up to.

If I answer the door to someone I don’t know and he or she clearly doesn’t belong here, I get out my cell phone for a close-up picture. “So the police will know who to arrest,” I tell the stranger.

Living in this kind of neighborhood is a pleasure. Even though we have to pay land rent, Kathleen and I still have enough of a sense of ownership to plant trees and bushes—the Pyracantha is almost as tall as the house—and fence in the yard before we bought our dog.

Kathleen works just four or five miles up the road and our grocery store, bank, and favorite restaurants—almost everything we need on a regular basis—lie within a two-mile radius.

Our church is the only exception, and it’s just a pleasant ten-minute drive in the country.

Doctor and dentist are many files further away, but we don’t need them often enough to object to the drive.

Yes, there’s no place like home.

Hmm. But what about that Gospel song that says, “This world is not my home”?

The older I get, the more comfort I take in those words.

I look at the moral and economic decay of this nation, and I don’t feel at home here anymore. Not like before, anyhow.

While people who believe in the value of human life and in the importance of working hard for what they want may still be in the majority, we’ve remained silent too long and allowed the career politicians to take control—and to go a long way towards destroying what used to be the finest nation on earth.

I thank God I have Heaven to look forward to. With every day older I get, the closer I am to my true Home.

If you have comments or observations—if you disagree with anything I’ve said—please feel free to share.

I’ll see you again on Wednesday.

Best regards,