It's been lovely, but the ten years are now up and I'll need to adapt to live without the annuity once again. I've put away some money in the bank, but the time has come to get ready to move back into a smaller place. I've got my eye on a place in downtown Portland - the same place, in fact, where I was living ten to 15 years ago. To keep within budget, I'd have to get a studio, and of course most of my stuff would need to go in storage or get sold.
What I've realized is, I don't think this will be bad at all. Looking back at the times when I've been either happy or unhappy with my life in general, or my living space in particular, the actual number of square feet in my living space has almost never been a factor. It's about quality, not quantity.
The place I currently occupy - a two-bedroom unit in the Hillsdale neighborhood - is great, the grounds are beautiful and it's smack in the middle of the Jewish area, across the street from Chabad. (Pictures here and here.) But the main value of living here was that I could have Bunny over to visit. And that's really been the only reason I needed bigger places in the first place, so TNG and Bunny could visit me comfortably when away from their respective mothers.
But the kids are older, TNG is almost ready to get a place of his own, and Bunny has a new father figure in her life. So at this point it makes sense to focus on taking care of me. I don't need a huge place, just a decent one. Now that I'm back in the full-time workforce, I'll be able to focus on increasing my earning power as I go along; I feel like I'm in a much stronger position now than I was 10 years ago.
For now, what matters about my living space is location more than size. If it's in a decent neighborhood, and within easy range of shopping and entertainment, and accessible to public transport, that's mainly what I care about. More living space is mainly just more space to keep clean.
So, small is beautiful.