According to a recent news item, a well-known Canadian has sold his Toronto house for $5 million less than its estimated value. It’s hard to grasp at first the significance of that figure: $5 million is not the value of his house; it’s merely the difference between the asking price and what someone paid him for it. And yet, for that much money, you could buy a whole bunch of houses like mine.
The $5 million figure struck me because I was already thinking a thought that makes me pretty much like almost everyone else: it would be nice to have a lot of money. This is no idle dreaming of buckets of cash or the greed that got King Midas into trouble. My sudden longing for a large pile of platinum stems from a desire to do something specific.
In the last issue, we featured an article on downsizing. By coincidence, someone asked me recently if I’d be selling my house now that the kids have their own lives. Another discussion turned to where I might like to live when I retire (my bank says I can do that as soon as I hit 70—provided I get myself a part-time job). All of which led one evening to me staring off into space, pondering the future in a way I hadn’t before. Where am I going to end up?
I’ve long harboured vague dreams of someday settling somewhere I’d always wanted to be: Newfoundland or Wales were high on my list. But both are far from Montreal—which is home, where my family is. Well, some of it. I always knew of course that my children would one day move out, but suddenly I find that my daughter is in another country, one son is in another province, and the other son will soon be in yet another part of Canada. How can I end up where my family is when my family is all over the place?
I thought I’d stumbled upon the perfect solution in this month’s profile, which contains a reference to “the McGarrigle family compound,” a property with five houses on it. That’s it, I thought excitedly—a Lewis family compound, where everyone could come and go, rest and recreate, visit and reunite.
Of course, reality quickly reared its sometimes hideous head: a huge family property isn’t the sort of thing one can just go out and buy—perhaps not even for the $5 million I’ll never have. I’m not sure what the answer is, except that it’s not money. I know, though, that many of you have been in my position. If you have any advice, I’d be glad to get it.
Murray Lewis, Editor-in-Chief