Joan’s Journey: No Shadow Seen

Joan's Journey - No Shadow SeenWelcome, readers! Have you heard of Punxsutawney Phil? He’s the groundhog who many believe foretells weather. On Groundhog Day, February 2nd, 2013, Phil came out of hibernation in the town of Punxsutawney, PA, and did not see his shadow. To this silly East Coast believer, this means spring, home sales and moving to senior housing in California is in the fast approaching.

Meanwhile, despite winter weather, three perspective buyers have explored my suburban Baltimore condo. These statistics are not impressive, except in context with the prior 12 months, when the condo was shown only 4 times.

I’m hoping the showings are an indication that the media reports are accurate — that housing sales, including condo sales, are increasing. Meanwhile, my condo continues as a Short Sale at the lowest price the realtor and I believe the lender will accept — 15 percent under the condo’s appraised value. My “Plan B” is to reinstate the Deed in Lieu (DIL) process, where the owner legally returns the title of the residence to the lender in exchange for release from the mortgage.

While awaiting a buyer or DIL, spring cleaning has arrived early. Last fall my daughter Allison and I cleaned closets and shelves in her room. Out came high school and college books, notebooks and mementoes. Fifteen-year-old shoes and coats surfaced. Allison lives in San Francisco. She visited twice to organize her belongings and sift through the give-aways and the keepers. With the assistance of a professional packing service, we carefully boxed everything moving across country. I then experienced great satisfaction donating give-aways to Goodwill and leaving a few items for sale at a vintage clothing store.

Joan's JourneyAllison’s room has transitioned into a storage room, with 22 boxes and other items conveniently out of sight. Soon I will ship her belongings, along with those selected by my son Brian, who lives in Seattle, and my son Mark, who lives in Los Angeles. I am blessed that all three of my children came to Baltimore and spent time with me going through cherished family possessions. Downsizing and moving are best when shared as a family, even though I’m the one moving to senior housing.

The day the movers take my sons’ items and the boxes from Allison’s – now storage – room, I suspect the condo will feel very empty. To become emotionally ready for this transition, I plan to focus on the benefits and fun of senior housing. Final downsizing and packing will occupy my days. But how does one emotionally prepare for the major change moving from living independently in one’s own home to living in a residential community of seniors?

Joan’s Journeyer’s, if you have faced this challenge, or know someone who has, or are an expert who works with seniors during life-changing events, please share your thoughts. At the end of this Post is a “Comments” box. Other journeyers,, and I, would love to hear from you.

The topic for Joan’s Journey in March is yet to be discovered. With no Punxsutawney Phil shadow in the way, let’s see how the gentle winds of spring blow. Until the next post, enjoy the journey!

Joan London is a freelance writer who specializes in senior and medical topics. London, who currently lives in Baltimore with her rescue cat Mia, plans to relocate to senior housing in Southern California in order to be closer to her children and grandchildren.

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