Don’t Downsize: RIGHTSIZE!

When considering the future, too many older adults feel that, in making the decision to downsize, they are losing something: space, treasured possessions, proximity to familiar surroundings, friends and family, and activities they enjoy. But there is a different — and I contend BETTER — way to frame and view decisions about aging and the Third Chapter of living, and it’s called rightsizing.

What’s the Difference?

Rightsizing your life is dramatically different from downsizing. Downsizing is narrow: it’s just the process of moving to a smaller space and getting rid of furniture and household items that won’t fit into the new space.

Rightsizing is much broader. It’s not just about where you live: it’s about your life as a whole. Rightsizing looks at the broader picture of your values, goals, and needs. For older adults, it’s the conscious choice to create your Third Chapter life and lifestyle in a manner that sustainably aligns with your unique self at every stage of your future.  

Rightsizing is the conversation to have, whether it’s adult children and parents discussing options, good friends sharing fears and uncertainty, or couples figuring out what to do.

Rightsizing is an attitude that helps you determine what’s really important to YOU. It then helps you align how you live with the values, goals, and needs that will help you create a more fulfilling life.

Why is This Process So Difficult?

Downsizing, with its connotations of sacrifice and farewell, can be a formidable task. It asks us to part ways with possessions, memories, and the remnants of dreams we once held dear. It is piles of papers you’ve kept to write a book, unusable gifts from dear friends, boxes of art supplies for projects not started, and clothing or jewelry kept for a child who has no interest in the items. Indeed, giving up dreams is a poignant and profound experience — one that can leave an indelible mark on the soul.

Aging is a confusing and frustrating process in itself. For most of us, it is traveling on uncharted waters. The certainty and structure that school, parenting and work brought to daily life is gone. So taking on the mindset that we still have will and control over life makes rightsizing the antidote to the sense of loss and longing that too often accompanies downsizing. Rather than focusing on what we must relinquish, rightsizing invites us to envision a new chapter — a chapter filled with promise, purpose, and possibility.

Do It With Passion! Do It With Vigor!

In essence, rightsizing is the process through which space is created to live the life one now envisions. It is a journey of self-discovery and reinvention — a journey that unfolds with courage, creativity, and unwavering determination. Rightsizing is not merely about decluttering physical spaces but about decluttering the mind and soul, making room for new experiences, passions, and connections.

Next week, I’ll delve into some of the main elements that help shift the attitude from one of loss to one of purposeful engagement and continued growth.

Are you ready to make your Third Chapter of life your best Chapter? I am!

Third Chapter Living celebrates, challenges, informs and promotes conversations about housing issues affecting the Baby Boomer Generation. Check out our website to learn more about our work on aging-in-place options. The author, Reese Fayde, is a dedicated problem solver and skills development coach. She’s passionate about working with change-makers — individuals committed to transforming the status quo, whether it’s in their industry, community, or organization.


  1. John zeisel on May 30, 2024 at 7:14 am

    To the point!

  2. John zeisel on May 30, 2024 at 7:14 am

    Strong statement.

  3. Karen Brown on May 30, 2024 at 8:49 am

    Thanks Reese!


  4. Susan Stockard on May 30, 2024 at 11:05 am

    I really like the positivity of this framing.

  5. Sarah Lee on May 31, 2024 at 9:05 am

    Thank you Reese! This is a wonderful way to think about our next chapter.

  6. Reese Fayde on June 10, 2024 at 12:40 pm

    Thanks for the feedback! Now let’s put it all in play.

Leave a Comment