Sunday, April 16, 2017

Privacy and Priorities

I got a call this week about an apartment available in the low-income senior place in Fortuna where I'd been on the wait list for five years.  Some of you might remember that two years ago I turned down a place there because I simply wasn't ready to move into "the last place I'll likely live."

Well, I made it to the top of the list again, so they called.  Before actually seeing the place, I kind of figured it should definitely go for it...but after seeing it on Friday and thinking about it for 24 hours, I decided not to take it.

For one, it's just too small.  Despite the fact that it has a bit more square footage than Rose Cottage, the layout is such that I couldn't get everything I have in there...and I'm not downsizing again to fit into a tiny living space that ultimately wouldn't support who I am.

The process, though, enabled me to get a handle on my priorities at this point in my life.  In my price range (read: very low income), space is always going to be limited in any future rental.  So there'll be trade-offs ~ and what I clearly realized is that I'd rather have room to have two studio tables and lots of shelving, than a dedicated bedroom that I'd hardly spend any time in, and/or space for a kitchen table and chairs. 

In the schema of my life, those things aren't really important.  What IS important, is that I have adequate space to create.  So I'm willing to do without those "luxuries," in order to continue to be who I am.

Most if not all of those senior community places are designed for a different kind of senior, a senior person, perhaps, of a slightly different era.  Someone who spends most of their time sitting and reading, or watching TV, someone who eats primarily prepared meals or takes many meals at the senior dining hall at the complex, someone who participates in the kinds of group activities inevitably profferred by these places.  I'm not that kind of senior.

Everyone I know who's my age or older has an active life of one sort or another.  Even though I no longer travel, and even though I spend a significant amount of time alone and don't partake of most of the cultural offerings in Humboldt County, I am active in my own way.  I'm always doing or making something.  I'm up and about a lot, inside and outside a lot in clement weather. 

And then there's the privacy thing.  I'll always be an introvert, I'll always choose to spend most of my time on my own, I'll always prefer not to do things everybody else is doing, I'll always be as self-reliant as possible.  It's not necessary for me to live in a community of age-related folks merely for the company or so I don't feel isolated.

So, all that said, I have an application into another low-income senior place, one that's newer, where the units have many more amenities.  The wait there could be another two years, since I just applied last week.  When I get the call on that place, I'll check it out and do my due diligence.  If it isn't going to work for me, then I'll simply stay here in Rose Cottage for the duration. 

It's costing me more here than either of the two senior communities would, but I've got to be comfortable.  And despite it's small square footage, lack of space for a bed and kitchen table, Rose Cottage perfectly serves my creative self.  I've got good neighbors and we're our own little neighborhood within the mobile home park, a killer view of the Eel River Valley mere steps from my front door, a great view of the sky from my west-facing windows, it's quiet, I'm completely independent and alone when I want to be, and BeeGee is happy here.


Bridget carpenter said...

I just made a committment to myself to organise my house around my creativity so I can emphasise with your feelings. I hope you have a bed to sleep in though!

tgarrett said...

Thank you for your post- I love seeing your collages in your journal they make me happy. I haven't commented for a while as Ron's heart surgery and now recovery process is getting top billing here. He had hoped to move to New Mexico this spring before all this heart stuff we still will but maybe this fall or next spring. Having a space to create is top priority.
Hugs to you,

Jan Ward said...

I appreciate your sharing. Your logic appears sound and thought-filled. It is important to keep doing what you are doing!

Jacki Long said...

I agree with every point Connie, you know what you want & need! ♥

Anna H said...

Sounds like you made the right decision for you, and hopefully the wait won't be too long on the new place....hugs....

jenclair said...

I've thought about the lack of privacy vs the conveniences in senior living situations, and maybe in the future it will be worth it. Right now privacy and creative space are the biggest consideration. It would so much would depend on the community and personal health.

Charlton Stitcher said...

You are so wise, Connie. Judging from the experience of friends, it can be a big mistake to move into the wrong kind of living space as you get older. Find the right provision and life is good. Find the wrong kind and privacy is lost. There is disapproval because you want to be alone and don't want to join in with organised stuff (both from staff and other residents) and lack of understanding by staff that older people may need support but inside they are still the people they've always been with the interests they've always had. Even in the worst kind of provision, everything is organised for the ease of staff rather than the residents.
Good luck - you are certainly very wise not to rush in!

john said...

You are so into your groove and I like it! Sounds like a song forming! :-)

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

You have found a good 'fit' in where you are living...we all have different needs physical and social. My need was strongly financial and I admit to giving up some freedoms in order to feel safe. You describe a perfect setting in where you are...enjoy!