Thursday, March 23, 2023

Several months ago, Moshe Kinderlehrer, the publisher of this paper, agreed that I would start a column focusing on people interested in downsizing their home. My first article was going to start like this:

I recently received my Medicare card. I’m turning 65 in a month and I’ve decided it’s time to move to a smaller home. I am excited to join the many baby boomers who are now entering this new stage of life.

However, before I could continue with my article, my father’s health speedily declined and he passed away on June 18. I spent the week of shiva doing what everyone does: looking at old pictures, hearing stories from people who knew him and recalling memories that had long faded. During this special week I saw pictures of him behind his desk at his home construction company, I remembered riding with him in his truck to work sites, I recalled his teaching me how to use that huge hammer-like machine that was needed to install oak flooring and I remembered how after a day of working on building our own home in Patchogue, New York, we would walk across the street, turn and proudly admire the work we had accomplished for the day. Shiva allowed me to focus on these memories of him rather than the mundane everyday work-related things I had to do in my profession.

As I returned to work the following week, I found I was in a bit of a haze and couldn’t really focus on my many day-to-day activities, including how to write this article. Interestingly, with regard to my father I was not in a fog. The memories of my father did not fade and perhaps became even crisper. I felt that I developed a super power, whereby if I truly focused on a picture or if I closed my eyes and concentrated on a memory, I could almost transport myself back to that moment. If I really tried, I could be back in my father‘s office where he was sitting behind the desk, or sitting in his truck heading to the job site, hammering the nail into the oak flooring and standing across the street with his strong arm on my shoulder.

I started to feel that I was living in a matrix-like existence and if I exposed myself too much to the real world then I’d be forced to leave my father behind, and I wasn’t quite ready to do that. I wasn’t ready to take the red pill.

However, I also realized that I have many new memories to make with my wife, my children, my grandchildren and hopefully someday my great-grandchildren.

Still, I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.

Fortunately, I’m realizing I can still visit my matrix-like existence and chat with my dad. In fact, now I’ve learned that I can see him as a 30-year-old teaching me how to fish or how to throw a baseball. I don’t only see the frail weakened man who needs my care; I also see a strong, proud “worker man” who could fix anything. I’ve come to understand that I can visit my matrix world for a short visit whenever I like while I also continue living in the real world.

I understand, as a boomer, downsizing has many different aspects to it and moving into a smaller home is just one of many. John Lennon said life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. I’m going to commit to view life more as I did when I was 18. My children are able to care for themselves and there’s really no one who absolutely needs me on a daily basis. For the first time since I was 18, I feel like I can do what I want. Perhaps I’ll go horseback riding, kayaking, skydiving (actually I’m afraid of skydiving). Perhaps I’ll go on an archaeological dig in Israel, a cattle drive out West or rent an RV and go cross country. Or perhaps just have a Saturday night campfire and kumzitz. I don’t know, but I’m going to take back life and not let “other plans” get in my way.

I hope to use this column to explore the path ahead for as long as Moshe allows it. I hope you’ll join me and share your thoughts by emailing me and perhaps if I learn how to set up a blog, to join there as well.

It’s time to prepare my next article and I have the first sentences.

I recently received my Medicare card. I’ve just turned 65. I’ve decided to move to a smaller home and my dad just died. I’m ready for this new stage of life.

David Siegel is a vice president of mortgage lending with Guaranteed Rate Affinity (GRA), a leading national retail mortgage lender. GRA is licensed in all U.S. states except Hawaii and works with many investors, which allows it to provide competitive pricing and a broad channel of unique options to handle the often very specific needs of the community. David has over 15 years of experience at both major banks and mortgage bankers and understands the guidelines of different lenders to help direct his customers to the best loan type for their needs. No one lender is the best option for everyone. David will help you find the right choice for you. He is located at 16 Arcadian Avenue, 3rd Floor, Unit C-6, Paramus, NJ, 07652. Contact him via email at [email protected] or phone at 201-725-9527.

NMLS 277243 Guaranteed Rate Affinity NMLS 1598647 Equal Housing Lender.

For licensing, go to nmlsconsumeraccess.org, 16 Arcadian Avenue, 3rd Floor, Unit C-6, Paramus, NJ, 07652. Licensed by the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance.

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