Coping: Moving When You’re Older

If you’re in the “Immortal years” (age 10-60) you might not find this very pertinent yet.  Print it up and save it a few years.  When you’ve used up 6-7 of your nine lives, it will begin to make sense.

The first time I ever moved, it was a simple matter of throwing a couple of bags of clothes into the back of my black ‘64 Ford Falcon and heading south on (then) newly minted Interstate-5.

By the time I was moving for a second time, it was all trimmed down to a single suitcase and I got on a Western Airlines jet and flew off to Alaska to be a microwave tech rep on a remote radar site.

In subsequent moves, I was mostly married and so it was two people – half the work.

Except for divorce, which is a “special case” – which is back to the throw your clothes in the back of a car adding the all-important checkbook and key financial records, and off you go down the freeway again…

One of the reasons for our extended stay here in the Pacific Northwest, other than business and such – is to test-run the idea of moving.

OMG…what a problem!

Neither Elaine or I is very fond of the idea of dying in the East Texas Outback.  But, as I ask her every couple of days, “When we get old enough, just exactly where would we like to die?”  No place has come to mind, yet.

Not a morbid thought – just an practical thing to ask when you reach a certain age.  Thinking the unthinkable (at least in the Immortal Years).

When we decided to rent a condo/apartment up here for a month, we knew (sort of) what we were in for.  We have been in the outback long enough to really appreciate the lack of traffic.  We thought it was exceptional to have to drive 20+ minutes to get to the closest store, for example.

Well, guess what?

Turns out, after going to the store during rush hour up here in the suburbs of Tacoma, near Seattle, that people do the same damn thing.  Except, instead of watching the wilds of East Texas roll pleasantly by, they are staring at the tail lights of the car in front of tem.

Note to inventors:  Come up with a way to monetize the rear end of the car in front of you.

Turns out that in terms of the “hassle factor” of shopping is about equal both places, but a better view in the outback) our other big learning was that we really, really don’t want to be on a second floor…ever again.

About 150 pounds of supplies and consumables got lugged up the stairs, followed by 200 pounds of bags and such, and all this on top of a meal of fish and chips.

No, second floors are definitely off the list.

Through the trip, we have kicked it around…what would it be like to sell off a gazillion dollars worth of shop tools, for example…as opposed to what would an 80-year old man be doing with welding and turning gear?  I figure to at least live that long, right?

That same problem comes to the hobbies, too. 

Figure I won’t be flying much past 70…maybe 72, or so.  Won’t need space for all the airplane crap.

Table saws can also become a problem by age 90, or so.  By then, my one bucket-list woodshop project ought to be done:  turning a 2-by-4 into a toothpick.

And when the hearing begins to seriously roll off, and I did test and yes, 12 KHz is starting to roll=-off pretty good now, in a dozen (or two) years, I won’t be mixing strings, if you know what I mean.  And my snares and high-hats will likely be way too intense.

I’m not saying 66 is a magical age (although it is a kind of financial “finish line” that we’ll cross next year) but it is when you need to begin getting “real” and having the conversations with yourself about the “next to last move” in life.  The last one is easy – small no-bedroom place that’s dark and in the end, many of us will get to try out underground housing.

But yes, 66 is harder than 16, 18, 21 or turning 30.

It also begins to change one’s outlook on prepping (don’t tell Gaye over at BackdoorSurvival this!) but on the way up here, Elaine asked a very pertinent question:  “When we get really old (as in older) do we really want to spend our last year on earth prepping?”  OK, what about the last month or week, then?

I have to admit I’m still thinking about that one.

Life is one prepping exercise after another: You go along prepping for college, then a job, then a series of higher-paying jobs,, and then you prep for retirement.  And then you prep for Ebola or whatever this week’s latest worry stone of the mass media happens to be.

In a sense, we’re starting to feel more kinship with our kids, who are adopting something of a minimalist lifestyle.  In their case, it’s because of economic reasons, sure, while in our case its more “Got to the point where things own us” instead of the other way around.

We’re all in a footrace with the Grim Reaper.  While it’s only a fool who would toss in the towel on that race prematurely, it’s also a fool who denies there’s that race to the finish the GR always wins.  We want to live a life that’s hardest for the GR to hack.

Working 12-hours a day, seven-days a week on this scheme or that is still acceptable, don’t get me wrong.  But the hard reality showed up at 2:30 AM Pacific as I sat down in a strange home with a cranky computer that decided to ignore my USB keyboard:  If this is “fighting the good fight” what would be a brilliant finishing sprint before we move into that final solution  ‘underground housing” not that many years down  the road?

It’s definitely something to think about as I try to figure out how to run an unfamiliar stove, adjust to a new toilet, stumble into walls, and realize life’s still a maze now, as much so as it was back age 13 when we started working..

An optimist is a person who takes out a new 30-year mortgage at age 66.  The bigger problem would be where, exactly, would that house be and what would it be like.  So far, damned if we know.

But it’s sure thought-provoking to look at this whole problem of “moving when you’re older.”

Reader’s Writes

I’m going to either solve this damn computer keyboard and mouse issue by Thursdays’ column (joys of win 8.1, huh?) or steal Elaine’s laptop which with Win-7 runs fine… I might as well be banging on a cheese sandwich this morning.

Nevertheless, the mail does get through…like this one:

I’m enjoying your travel logs.

May I suggest a link to your RSS feed somewhere on your site?

I guessed which redirected to which works great. But, I’m going to go out on a limb and say not everyone would just guess like that.

Fine point… I am going to solve all that in the next week or so.

We’re also glad you’re enjoying the travel notes.  We’’ll keep you posted and let you know when you can come over and carry up groceries.  Elaine thinks I’m stupid for carrying both 80-pound bags up at once, but a dedication to efficiency is either a core value, or not.

Until Thursday, write when you get rich.  I’m going to wash the Velveeta off my fingers now and try to install a hotfix….


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