I have never been an avid sailor but I can remember well when we experienced a wicked bear market, the dot com collapse of 2000-2, and our office used an anonymous expression, “We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust our sails.” We were referring to how we can each make changes to our lifestyle and investment strategies in response to difficult times.
Looking over the numerous life stages most often depicted, there usually is only one choice for a man who just turned 73 years of age, “late adulthood,” which by most sources begins at age 65. Dragging my wife through this stage has become interesting of late as we have made a major adjustment to our sails.
Seventeen years ago, we lived in the “empty nest” stage and rather than moving to a smaller house, we moved to a large ranch house just down the street from where we lived. An empty nest provides parents the time and money to do things around the house they could not do before. We thought the single floor home enabled us to respond to aging parents who needed our assistance, and the bigger home provided us room to bring our rapidly expanding family base together for birthdays, holidays and special occasions. Our plan worked wonderfully and we thoroughly enjoyed this home with our family and friends.
Just over three months ago, Janet heard me say that I might be interested living by the Wabash River in some new lofts that were going to be built in Terre Haute. Until then, I always said I wanted to stay in our ranch home until our grandchildren no longer enjoyed our pool. Times change and for us we found that we were always on the go. During the week there were frequent grandchildren events to try to attend. The weekends were filled with numerous trips—some business, some visiting friends, but many trips to a cottage we have in northern Indiana. The problem was that our life changes were taking us away from enjoying the house we worked hard to maintain. We were both primed to make a change and as soon as Janet heard me hint that I might be interested in a loft, she was on the hunt! If you know Janet, you know she can work in high gear once motivated. Two weeks after my hint, we signed a lease for a loft and listed our home. In another week it was sold and a month later we were in the apartment.
I do not think anyone will accuse Janet and me of being afraid to make changes in life. We really only go around one time through life and it is best to listen to your inner voice and to adjust to what is going on around you. I am sure there are many who live out their lives in the same home and are fulfilled, but I also believe that sometimes we do not recognize life has changed and we can too. We will never regret the years we had at the ranch house, but we are excited and thrilled with the adjustment we have made.
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