I recently moved from my home of 26 years.
When I was on the hunt for a new place, I wasn’t willing to just move into any random house, townhouse, condo, or apartment. No way, and I had my reasons.
If you read my blog titled “Seeing My Way Through Some Big Life Changes” you would know that I am in the process of a divorce. Divorce is not for sissys and it has not been an easy road to navigate. During one of the meetings we had, there was a moment, one of many, I will remember for a long time.
In this meeting, the conversation was going in a direction I was not expecting, I was asked, “If you move out of the house, what are some things you might want or; uhh, require?”. Requirements? Of course, I knew she was alluding to my disability. I was not prepared for this question. Not even a little bit.
I immediately felt my anxiety rise up from the depths. Which would appear first? My tears or my voice. I didn’t know.
My thoughts ran wild.
Wait wait Wait. WHAT? He stays? I move? Oh god… this wasn’t what we had previously discussed. What is happening?
I suspected this was now the direction the conversation was headed in. I could barely speak and this was not the time to pretend that everything was fine and stay quiet. Speaking up and being assertive when I needed to be were things I had not been comfortable doing for many years. For some of you, that may be hard to believe, but you don’t really know what goes on behind closed doors – even with your closest friends.
The thoughts continued.
Don’t panic. Breathe. Stay calm. If there was ever a time to gather all your courage, it’s NOW! So, keep it together and speak up. Do it! Your future is at stake.
There is a quote that says, “Speak your mind even if your voice shakes.”, and that’s exactly what I did.
These were some of the things I said that day. Depending on your own life experiences, you might relate to one, none, or all of then.
1. I want to stay in my community.
I have lived in my community for 28 years. 22 of them with full vision and 6 of them legally blind. I am familiar with many of the businesses and shops as well as the people who work at them. I have worked at the same gym, in the middle of town, for 16 years. And most importantly, the friendships I have formed here are priceless, irreplaceable, and make up an incredible support team for me. I can not and will not leave my terrific team!
2. I want to remain somewhat “convenient” for my friends.
The part of town I have lived in for decades is close to the places I am familiar with. Most of my friends live in this area too. If I can stay in this part of town, it would still be convenient for any of my friends to pick me up and/or drop me off for work and play. I don’t want to be too far “out of the way”, adding more miles and time for those who regularly drive me.
3. I want to live in a house, not a condo or apartment complex.
A house is more times than not, simple and easy for friends, family, paratransit buses, and rideshare drivers to find. The corn maze-like layouts of some complexes can be ridiculous. Constantly giving directions to drivers on how to find me — in hopes that they do find me — would leave me feeling anxious (and quite frankly, would become a real pain in the ass!). Remember, I can’t look for my rides, they have to look for me. So, yeah. Let’s keep the Hide ‘n Seek game simple for all involved.
4. I want to reside in a neighborhood I feel safe in.
I suspect most people would feel that way, blind or sighted, when looking for a home. Every town has that one sketchy area, so don’t judge me for saying it. I can’t see who comes to my door or whos walking down the street. So, yes, a nice quiet, and safe neighborhood is preferable.
5. I want a house that would be manageable for me as a blind person – with or without my kids living with me.
I thought a single-story house with a simple layout would be the best choice. Many of you understand that some stairs leading to/from a second-floor can be visually tricky. Appliances and any special features should be accessible or could easily be made accessible for me. (Hello Bump Dots!) A house that has poor lighting or gets little to no sunlight is dreary and does nothing to help me utilize the cloudy peripheral vision I still have. Usually, a house has a front and backyard and I’d prefer it to be simple and easy to maintain.
6. I’m not so sure I want this one, but maybe I need it.
Perhaps I need to look for a new beginning. A new space to fill as I want to — physically and emotionally. I could bring in the thoughts and things that would serve me best. A place to settle in and figure out a new normal. Maybe. Just maybe.
So, where ate things at now?
Well, I decided I would move out of the house. It was the best choice for everyone. The hunt for a new place that would include the things I wanted was overwhelming. When I say overwhelming, I mean, it would take a whole nutha blog to discuss and describe that stressful process. Let’s just say that being fully sighted and having a car with the ability to drive is a huge plus when house hunting!
Today, my kids and I (plus 2 cats) live in a nice little house, and we call it home. Did I get all the things I talked about above? No. However, I think hitting 5 out of 6 with a backyard POOL, isn’t too bad. And with time, we will adjust to living in our new pad.
You are an amazing writer and speaker, and your appeal is universal! Keep sharing your stories, Maria.
Thank you Sheryl!! I really appreciated all your help during the moving process. Love you! xo
I’m so proud of and happy for you!
Aww. Thank you so much!!
Maria you ROCK!!
My move was a little easier than yours (can’t believe I’ve been in my new home for 21 months). In the UK local authorities have what is called council houses basically the council owns them (my council covers two towns and it’s surrounding villages) and local people can rent them and it is cheaper than privately renting (the house I rented when my children were still at home cost nearly half as much as the rent my daughter pays in a private rental) as you can imagine the waiting list is huge. When my children all left home I did a council swap where the people in the upstairs flat I moved into moved into my family home… then I lost most of my sight and it was difficult being in an upstairs flat. My council agreed to move me. Despite me saying only in my town they offered me a couple of places in the other town at first, however the third offer was to have my pick of two ground floor flats (no stairs huzzah) the two blocks of flats are on opposite sides of a car park and on a floor plan would be the same position, layout wise they were also identical. The difference was the windows in the one I chose overlooked the car park while the other had a large hedge that cut down on natural light. I had to decide which was more important to me and chose the car park view. (It took me a while to find the correct curtains for my living room as people walk past my windows I had net curtains for privacy but could see movement which triggered a crowd of Kilroys in my living room thanks to Charles Bonnet Syndrome so this year I made some cafe curtains which means Kilroy wozn’t here any more).
I’m now on the other side of town to where I used to live, about as far from my children as it’s possible to be but my town is relatively easy to walk across. Of course a flat came up close to them once I’d been offered this one, but as this was guaranteed and the other wasn’t and by saying yes to this one I couldn’t apply for the other, I went ahead with the move as I’d been on a waiting list for six months. Luckily since I’d lived in my home town for all but the first six years of my life and had friends near where I live now I soon learned the safest routes to the places I needed to be. As my eyes continue to deteriorate I’m glad I have my lovely home all sorted.
I wish you every happiness in your new home
Hello Lynne! Thank you so much for your encouraging words and for sharing your experience. Love hearing all the details from across the pond. xx
So very happy for you and all these challenging difficult times with such determination and grace.
I would love to see your new home sometime. Much love and awe.
Thank you Erin! You are too kind! I would LOVE for you ( perhaps my mom) to come over for a visit sometime!!! xo
This post was interesting. I still live at home, and the tips you offer help me think about my future.
Hi Amanda! Thank you for reading the blog and taking a moment to comment. I am so glad you found this helpful for when it is time for you to move. It’s a big step for anyone and I wish you the best the day that you take that step!! xo
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