Choices, Cost of Living, DC, Finances, home hunting, old age, peace, Toronto
I have not planned this old age business well at all. This whole home finding has accentuated a very negative part of my unpreparedness for surviving in this world. I always thought that I was doing ok financially and even in the legacy building department. But, alas, the reality of trying to find a decent living space in the downtown area of Toronto, has exposed that myth for what it is. I have had people call me a foolish dreamer — and some other not-so-nice things — for thinking that I could actually stay in the neighbourhood where I’ve lived for the past 23 years. That, my friends, breaks my heart. It hasn’t been for lack of networking and putting up posters and talking to everyone around, and searching those awful internet sites. There just isn’t anything available that I could even squint at let alone afford.
This became even clearer to me this week when I heard the ex-city planner for Toronto on the radio. She was gushing about a partnership that her not-for-profit had made with a big, big developer who was going to build 50,000 “affordable” units in Toronto and Vancouver. When asked what her definition of “affordable” was she replied that it was designed for people making $80,000 a year. She mentioned something about social housing and shelters for the rest of us. “Let them eat cake,” I thought at the time.
All this opened the doors to a lot of “shoulds” about my past. I don’t like “shoulds” especially when there’s not a hell of a lot that I can change about my past performances. And would I? Would I have chosen not to move to Toronto with Ned and stayed put in my $500 apartment in DC, working unhappily but lucratively at the law firm? It would have made this old age of mine a lot easier financially but certainly not my spirit. But I can’t help getting those little nagging voices in my head admonishing me for not saving more money and for goodness sake why wasn’t I more grabby in that divorce. And why didn’t I put my name on every co-op housing place in Toronto as soon as I got divorced? Those voices are hard to not listen to right now. It’s especially pronounced when I compare my past performances with my group of friends here who put in the years in a profession and chose wisely on their home buying and investments. I feel a little like the orphan child.
I know better than to sink into all those holes of shoulds. As my brother wrote a while back “Your future will be ok” — I’d say better than ok but I’ll take ok. Then he wrote, “Approach it in peace.” What sweet words for me to remember as I venture forth into this next phase of my old age.