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Time and freedom

Posted October 08, 2014 in Advice Column, Clive

For decades, you and your partner have seen to your duties, such as mowing your lawn, cooking your dinner and unclogging your plumbing. When you were young and couldn’t afford help, it made sense to faithfully fulfill all the cooking, cleaning, yard work, repairs and improvements you could handle.) But chances are, the fun is long gone.

And if you’re nodding, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans are leading duty-driven, fairly bleak lives in the houses that actually separate them from the two things they want most. If you’re thinking, “Yes, but you don’t know anything thing about me,” simply pause and ponder what exactly you do want most, in the heart of your heart. Ready?

More than anything, you want a whole lot more time. And the freedom to choose how to use it.

Given this, your mornings would go from bleak to bound-out-of-bed joyful. It’s not about less work or responsibility, but about keeping promises and prioritizing your possibilities for personal growth and positive change. And as you pursue your choices — travel and teaching, family and genealogy, old friends and flames, painting and self-expression, catching up on your health, writing that cookbook or memoir — significant change will require several tough evolutions. First, for instance, you must acknowledge, “I’ve done my duty.”

Which means, it’s time to move.

You have permission to release yourself from mindless chores. Trade your house for easy-peasy, comfortable quarters in a continuing care retirement community. Forget cleaning. Don’t own a yard. Why, when you can have acres of landscaped green space and gardens somebody else maintains? Order a chef-prepared dinner every night or order in. Repairs? Phone it in. The bad news is if you don’t like making choices, you’re sunk, because the good news is you’ve got time and possibilities, and making up your mind is your primary responsibility. The best news is that neighbors — on every side, at every table — will share some of your experiences and enthusiasms, and you’ll soon have a network of new friends in addition to the family and old friends who’ll love your new-found time for them.

Right now, frankly, too much of your precious energy, time and focus is devoted to the upkeep of too much space (and most people live in just a portion of a few rooms). Picture a new paradigm of right-sized quarters, white-glove clean and as neat as you like. Picture hour after hour devoted, not to tending room after room of things, but instead to new discoveries and spent with people you love.

A new life with time and choice to write your own agenda is a three-step proposition: Pick the right CCRC with a floor plan that fits your lifestyle and budget, sell your house and move in.

Information provided by Deerfield Retirement Community, 13731 Hickman Road, Urbandale, 1-888-561-6010,

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