On being fifty and frightened

As I approach my forty-ninth birthday, I blog this week from something of a personal perspective; approaching fifty and being a little bit frightened about the future, my fitness, and my finances.

The strata concept is a year older than me having just had its fiftieth birthday but by my reckoning, it’s a little frightened too about these things and well it should be.

As case after case of chronic abuse and property neglect comes across my desk, it’s time we addressed the issue of middle-aged strata. There are buildings near death and dying for want of funds, for much-needed repairs and replacement in every state in which I practice and no one seems to care.

Kubler Ross’ seminal piece on death and dying comes to mind – on facing terminal illness the five stages of grieving unfold thus –

  • Denial – this can’t be happening to me!
  • Anger – who is to blame for this – the former committee for ignoring their obligations to save progressively for this day?
  • Bargaining – we do a deal with ourselves that delays the day of judgment- lets get another quote on those repairs, before we commit
  • Depression – we will never emerge from this, then mercifully
  • Acceptance – we can fix this, and we must.

The trouble is in strata-land, these five stages come at different times for different folk and that makes the whole middle age strata condition just that little more dysfunctional. I have a case at present where the experts say the remedial bill is $ 9M – more than $ 100,000 per lot and some naysayer (a past committee stalwart who presided over decades of neglect) says without authority that $10 grand per head should do the trick. The trouble is that people in denial or bargaining think that sounds pretty good and behave accordingly.

As night follows day for those of a certain age, the future will be no fun unless some hard decisions are made sooner rather than later about finances and fitness of our strata stock.

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