Why Spend the Rest of our Years Alone

Because of the change in social roles, increasing numbers of single "empty nesters" are floating around in our society. Doubtless, there will be many more. Divorce is more prevalent, women can support themselves now, and many parents remain single during child rearing years to begin with. What do we do when our last baby leaves home, and we are left with three extra bedrooms.? Do we move into a cramped little space which will allow us to prepare for retirement, or do we just stay right where we are and take in roommates? I know what I did, and I am very happy about it.

I bought a small condo a year after my son moved out of our beautiful home. I had a lifetime of precious memories stored with me, such as my son's early school papers, his early toys, his baseball card collection, not to mention an accumulation of life-style enhancers, such as tennis rackets and jogging machines. All of it went. I ruthlessly tossed out everything that would not fit, essentially, into two rooms. I was allotted a tiny storage area in the basement, which took incredible amounts of organization and maneuvering in order to cram as much of my life into it as possible so I wouldn't be tripping over everything in my limited living space.

I was upstairs, and so I had given up the joy of having a yard, and that means I had given up my dog, too. Financially, I had it made. $550.

00 a month including tax and insurance, and it was mine for the rest of my life. The only problem was that I was my miserable. I regretted having sabotaged my life right at a time when I should have been enjoying a thirty year culmination of gathering and establishing. I threw it all away out of some kind of fear over money, and then I discovered that the house would have climbed in equity to the tune of 100,000 a year anyway.

I had condemned myself to a stuffy, lonely coffin, I had priced myself out of the market for good,and the damage I had done to the continuity of my life was irreversible. I could either hate myself for the rest of myself and not bother to get out of bed any more, or I could find a solution for my need to live in a real house and with human companionship. I bought a house that cost me 130,000 more than my original one with an interest only mortgage. I went in search of roommates.

There are a lot of us. We are everywhere! I had always avoided opening my home to "strangers" because I felt like it would be a violation of my sacred space. I found however, that other people cherish their sacred space also, and if you find mature people you will actually be sharing the same wish, and you will accommodate one another. Once they have their own room complete with some kind of media player and personal things, they will not object to simply sharing a living room, kitchen and yard with their fellow housemates. Most of them will enjoy it. It is built in companionship.

You don't have to go out to some formal get-together just to interact with people. It is a growing experience so you don't stagnate. It is a feeling of accomplishment because you have figured out a way to keep your house. Hey, roommates aren't for just the young.

We can have some fun too!.

Olga Moe lives on an island in the Puget Sound. She is known mostly for her fiction contributions to

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