As we go through life, we have a series of decisions to make – some monumental in terms of impacting the future direction of our lives and some incidental or inconsequential by comparison. Life is a series of decisions. Even making no decision – allowing things to remain as they are or deciding not to make a decision at the moment – is a decision nevertheless.
From our earliest recollection, we have been making decisions that affect our lives – and often the lives of those around us. Most of the decisions we make are quite minor, ordinary, and matter-of-fact – what to wear each day, what to have for breakfast, which route to take to the office, where to go for lunch, and similar choices we make on a daily basis. There are lifestyle choices we make also, such as what we eat to manage our weight, when we start a fitness or exercise plan, when we start a weight reduction plan, or when we take an online course. We also choose to get a haircut, shop for clothes, take our clothes to the cleaners, take the car to the mechanic, and shop for groceries and other household and office supplies (after deciding what we need to purchase in advance or while in the store).
Some of the choices we are asked to make have larger consequences in the longer term than others, but most of these simple decisions are made without really considering the big picture. We can make them relatively easy because many of them can be reversed or done over if we don’t like the outcome.
As for more impactful decisions that we face along the way as we go through life, a few of the more major ones are things such as which subjects to study or concentrate on in school (pre-college) and then which major to take in college, what sports or other activities to learn and then to try out for organized teams, what college to attend, which car to purchase initially (and then others after that), dating, and which friends we want to have.
Choosing a life partner and deciding on a career path or profession are two of the most serious decisions that we make, and they often are made just once or twice in a lifetime. For those who want children, starting a family is up there in importance also – as is deciding not to have children.
Then, there is housing. Fortunately, we don’t have to select the one and only house or apartment that we want to occupy our entire lives when we are just starting out on our own. We get to rent a small apartment or home and purchase a series of homes until we know what we want. We may have a good idea of what we want in a home or apartment, and we may choose correctly for ourselves the very first time, but most people are going to experience a few residences before finding something that meets their needs better than the earlier attempts.
We are seeing a big change in the way people remain in their homes. A half-century ago, people were quite mobile and moved an average of once every five years, with some moving more frequently than this. Now, more than half of homeowners have lived in their present home for more than a dozen years. There are many reasons for this – economic as well as convenience – but there is growing trend for people to remain in the homes they have.
Now, in terms of major life decisions, some people have done considerable research and selected their current home (recently or several years ago) because it met their needs and they really like it. Others have a home that maybe isn’t totally ideal for them but they have learned to accept it and don’t desire to try to replace it. Some people are still looking for their ideal home and will acquire another one or two before settling on the one they want as their long-term home.
For those people who are prepared to remain in the homes that they have now, they have made one of the key life decisions, and generally, it was easy to do. Either they love the home they have and clearly want to remain in it or they can’t think of any other home that would meet their needs any better than the one they have now (even though they may grumble a little now and then about their current home). There’s also the economic factor of trying to replace their current home.
Aging in place can either be a conscious decision that people reach about selecting their current home as their permanent home that they want to continue living in for as long as they can. or they have not made any decision about remaining or moving which means that they are aging in place with no decision. Either way, it was not difficult for people to arrive at this conclusion.