Remember when everyone read the Funny Pages? My favorite was Peanuts.
Peanuts was hysterical because of its truisms about a simpler time. Its prime was during 50s, 60s, and 70s. The Boomer years. Nowadays, if you mention Peppermint Patty to anyone under 30 you’re greeted with a blank stare.
A lot has changed in the past 60 years. People used to stay at one job until they retired with a gold watch. Kids grew up and stayed in the same hometown. Sunday dinners existed so you needed a big dining room.
Things have changed! People are taking much better care of themselves. Health is better. Boomers work out. We’re in our prime. Some of us are on a second or third career. We want to travel.
But many of you are making things harder than necessary. For many of you, your home is holding you back. The mortgage and taxes. The maintenance. The sense of responsibility.
But it’s not so easy to let go. I know it myself. So many memories. So much nostalgia.
Just the idea of downsizing can be emotional and difficult. So today, I’m going to lighten things up. I have a question for you.
Which of the following Peanuts characters do you most identify with?
Then, depending on your answer, I’ll give you some advice to help you overcome your fears.
WHICH PEANUTS CHARACTER ARE YOU?
Charlie Brown is all about maintaining emotional stability. But in truth, he’s insecure, constantly over-thinks things, and tends to procrastinate.
When a Charlie Brown downsizes, he thinks things like, “Where will I go?” “What will my friends think?” “Does this mean I’m a failure?” “I don’t see everyone else doing this… why do I have to?” He thinks about this is DOWNsizing, not as a great opportunity.
Snoopy is the ultimate extrovert. He’s daring and flamboyant and has a rich fantasy life filled with adventures. He’s not the “plan things in advance” type.
Snoopy is the one who would tell everyone he meets that he’s decided to live on a boat off the South of France, flying back now and then to see his grandkids (hopefully without a dogfight against the Red Baron!)
Snoopy thinks big. But he might not always be so grounded in reality. While anything is possible (within reason) Snoopy might be setting himself up for later disappointment.
Lucy is a crabby and disagreeable know-it-all. Even if she agrees to something, she’ll only do it kicking and screaming. She’s the BOSS and will only do things her way.
She will approach the downsizing process as the ultimate expert, always knowing what’s right, never listening to professional advice, and even giving misguided advice to everyone in her orbit.
Linus is open to new experiences and is regularly inventing his own ideas.
He is open to change, but not TOO much change. After all, he still needs his security blanket. He’s careful and thoughtful.
Schroeder is the most conscientious of the bunch.
He’s talented and successful, but an unstoppable perfectionist. Nothing is good enough, which is why he incessantly practices his classical piano. Sometimes he gets in his own way.
SELL YOUR HOME THE PEANUTS WAY
Good Grief, Charlie Brown! Do any of these personalities seem familiar to you? Do you swing between being negatively pessimistic and unrealistically optimistic?
Maybe you can find a little bit of all these guys in you depending on the circumstances and use each of their qualities to your advantage.
- Be OPTIMISTIC like Snoopy and think of this as “RIGHTsizing.” You’re finding a new home that’s just right for the present you and not the old “you.” It’s an adventure.
- Be as SMART as Schroeder and take advantage of the equity you built in your home or lower your monthly nut. Either way you’re freeing up finances. But don’t let Schroeder-like perfectionism paralyze you so much that you’re afraid of making any decision. You’ll end up inert.
- COMMUNICATE like Lucy at her psychiatrist stand. Slow down and think through your real priorities. Make sure you and your significant other (if you have one) are on the same page. Go to some open houses to check out a variety of scenarios. Then talk. And keep talking until you get it right. Just don’t talk yourself out of it.
- Tap your inner Linus and GET HELP from the right expert. That’s your security blanket. A good real estate agent can tell you what you’ll ultimately get for your house and introduce you to new home options that can work for you. That agent should also tell you how much it will cost to move and do home repair or renovation. In this case, don’t act like Lucy. Would you take out your own appendix? Of course not! Would you do the electrical work in your home on your own? You get it. If you insist on being your own expert, you’ll continue to pull the football out from under yourself and never reach any of your goals.
- Above all, don’t be a Charlie Brown. Don’t let your insecurity intimidate you into complacency. BE OPEN TO CHANGE and plan thoroughly. Selling your home takes tons of hard work, from the planning, purging, prepping, pricing, purchasing and packing. That doesn’t even include the S’s: storing, staging, selling, settling in and surviving the whole damn thing. Be open-minded. Think thru all options, be adventurous, don’t shut yourself down.
Get over your insecurities and look ahead, Boomers. All of my downsizing clients have made what felt like difficult choices to them in the moment. But, given a short bit of time, every single one of them felt like they made exactly the right choice.
Turn the page – your next adventures awaits!