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.