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Anxiety aside, making a fresh start can become an adventure

March 2012

Helene Laventure wakes up every morning and makes herself a tall mug of coffee, which she sips while doing a crossword puzzle in her comfy living room. The simple joy of this ritual would make anyone believe that she’s lived in this small condo forever. On some days it surprises her that it has only been three years.

“I lived at my last home for eight years, and I always thought that I would never move again,” Laventure says. She was born and grew up in Mauritius, immigrating to Canada after the birth of her daughter. Wanting to settle down near her daughter and grandchildren, she moved into a duplex in Pierrefonds. She grew close to her landlady and felt comfortable enough to think she would never move again.

But eight years and several water and roof problems later, her landlady sold the building.

Laventure says that she found herself thinking about what she really needed, what she should get rid of, and where she wanted to spend the rest of her life. It wasn’t easy for a woman who thought herself settled for good.

However, with the support of her family and the boundless help of her boyfriend, she found a small condo in Beaconsfield.

She packed up her belongings with her daughter, which was a great opportunity to get rid of a lot of old stuff and to drop most of it off for donation.

“I just love it now,” says Helene Laventure of her move to a small condo. Photo: Sarah Mudrosky

“I got rid of a lot of knickknacks and furniture and a lot of clothes,” she says with a laugh, “because I had way too much and a lot less closet space in the new condo.

“Although the new place is smaller, it seemed okay because of its proximity to my family and the security of living in a monitored building.”

Laventure says it was hard to leave the past behind and get rid of her old things, but that “there’s a time to do it. At a certain age, you’ve got to get rid of what you don’t use and keep the minimum.”

She says there’s a sense of freedom that comes with a fresh start, but she was anxious about adjusting and learning to like the place as much as she liked the last one.

“It was my home in a matter of a couple of weeks,” she says. “I just love it now. I’m so comfortable and conveniently situated that I cannot imagine being anywhere else.”

But she confesses that a downsize past the age of 70 gets a person thinking about the future, or how little time there may be left.

“I’m kind of morbid that way,” Laventure says. “I often think about how much time I have left and what will happen after. Moving got me to think seriously about it, so I went to a notary shortly after moving and getting settled.”

Laventure admits she still misses carrying her coffee down the balcony stairs in the summer to sit with her landlady, but that she misses it in the way that she misses the house in Mauritius where she grew up, or the friends she made during her time in Switzerland: it’s a thing from the past that she recollects with fondness.

“Any sudden and unexpected change is going to be stressful,” she says. “But if you just stay positive and make the most of it, you’ll find very quickly that everything is going to be okay. More than okay, actually.”



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