It was common for many years for people in the United States to be on the move throughout their lifetimes. We would grow up in a home with our parents, and often this was more than one depending on how much our parents tended to move between cities or changed jobs that resulted in the need for a new location to live. Sometimes, even when our parents didn’t change jobs or careers, they would still move to a different neighborhood with a newer or larger home.
This gave us the opportunity to experience a variety of home sizes, layouts, and styles and to begin formulating our likes, dislikes, and preferences for what we would want in a home of our own later. When we ventured away from home for the first time, maybe to live in a dormitory or campus apartment, we likely didn’t get to be too picky about what the living accommodations would be. We probably took what was available or affordable and left it at that. Maybe we had a few choices, and possibly we didn’t. Those preferences that we wanted to translate into picking a place of our home that was somewhat consistent with them likely had to wait until a little later.
Possibly we attended a local college and lived in an apartment of our own choosing away from our parent’s home. Based on what the marketplace had to offer and the prices we could afford, we possibly could apply some of the housing preferences we had been collecting into what we selected.
As the years went by, whether we continued to live by ourselves, had a roommate, or got married, we probably moved into a few different homes and apartments. Here we were testing our likes and dislikes for housing layouts and function within the framework of what was available at the time, where it was located physically in the area, and how much it was according to our budget and financial ability at that time. We weren’t always able to be as selective as we would have liked, but we did what we could.
Eventually, we found a home that met our needs and checked off all the boxes on our “must have” list – and possibly some of our “nice to have” items also. Our needs could still continue to evolve, but that home selection was based on the filters that we have acquired growing up in our parent’s home, what we had experienced on our own in the marketplace, what our financial position would allow us to get, and how we intended to use our home to live in, raise a family if that was the case, entertain, relax, and retreat from the workplace.
Now, we are in that same home or one or more that we have replaced it with, and we find ourselves in a position to face the future with the decision of staying where we are or moving yet again once or twice more.
As much as we may already have moved about in our lifetimes, and as common as it is for someone to live in multiple homes over time, we may not be in our forever home yet. If we have chosen wisely, and if we were able to locate a home within our price range and the neighborhood or location that we found desirable that offered what we felt we needed to have in a home, and didn’t compromise any of our basic list items, we may be living in our forever home already – regardless of how long we have lived in it or at what age we were when we moved into it.
Then, instead of being part twenty percent of the population that historically has moved every five years, we would be part of the growing trend of staying put and aging in place. Of course, we know that people age in place wherever they are, but we are making the distinction here of locating that forever, permanent, or longterm home and that being designated as our aging in place residence.
Not everyone has located their ideal home yet – the one they want to remain in indefinitely, or they may not be finished with career moves that might take them to another city. For others who aren’t sure if they can live where they are and be happy or if they need to consider another home, the question becomes – to paraphrase Hamlet – “to move or not to move?”
The home we are in now may well be our forever home because we planned it that way. We also could have acquired it a few years ago and never thought that much about moving from it. Now we are aging in place – by design or by default. This happens to us at some point, and it happens to us as well as our clients. It doesn’t matter how we all get to this point – and it can just sneak up on us. What counts is how we deal with our homes from here moving forward and how prepared we are to make our current home the one to stay in.