So, what do you do when you know you truly want to change your life? Well, you put your homestead up for sale and get serious about downsizing. I mean, truly serious. It’s not at all easy to do and most never face this task, unless forced to. When you go through all the things you’ve accumulated throughout your lifetime, sometimes these things make you re-live parts of your life, whether you want to or not.
Roughly 20 years ago, my father gave me all my mother’s personal papers and memorabilia that she had boxed up. I placed them on a shelf in my workroom closet, knowing I would have to go through them one day. Other than quickly rummaging through those boxes for items for my father’s funeral service, I hadn’t really gone through them intensely, one item at a time. Not until now. To do so, with the intention of elimination, I wanted to make sure there wasn’t something in those boxes that might mean a great deal to someone other than myself. So, I carefully went through each, and every, item.
Having an idea what the boxes held, I knew it would most likely create some emotional moments. I couldn’t believe the detailed history that sat before me of my mother’s entire life, the family history that lay inside these boxes. So much detail that you are made, very much, aware of a world that has changed so completely. You learn of family details that you were not aware of, as a child. Yes, it isn’t an easy thing to do. Going through your family history, the good, the bad, the unknown, with the intention of eliminating the “paper trail” that has become boxes that you no longer want to carry with you.
It really makes me wonder why I’ve kept so much of this “stuff” that I no longer ever go through. Do I really want to lug all this with me for the rest of my life? Do I really want to keep these things that I truly may never again look at? How much and which parts of my life do I truly wish to hang on to, as far as tangible memorabilia? These memories are within me, making up all the parts of who I have become, the how and why. But I ask myself, is all this “stuff” so necessary, to box up and hang on to it? Do I want to carry this paper trail with me? Do I want my children to have to go through all of this when I leave this earth? Hell, I don’t even want to go through it. But I must, if I intend to downsize.
You must believe that, for every item you choose to keep from the past, leaves one less spot where you can treasure a memory from the future. It doesn’t have to be in a box either. It could be in your mind, your memory, your heart. If you clog things up with so much of the past, how are you going to be able to openly welcome your future with excitement? The older we get, the more we accumulate. How much do you really want to carry on your back? At this point in my life, I truly believe that less, is more.
I want much more. Much more freedom of movement. You see, the more we carry with us, the heavier the burden, the slower our ability to move. With so very much within these walls, I am overwhelmed. I want to free myself. I want to allow myself the ability to focus on me, something I haven’t done in a very long time. But, for me to successfully achieve this, I must free myself of this weight. So, I am downsizing. There are things dating back almost 100 years inside my walls and I no longer want to carry all this “stuff” with me. I must get rid of these material objects that are choking me. Memories that involve so many people, so many places, so many events, so many years.
It is quite exciting to say good bye to these items as I go through so much from my life, my parent’s lives, my grandparent’s lives and so on. Carefully passing onto others some of these items, recycling others and burning some of this, I find myself feeling a freedom within, unlike any other. My heart and my chest weigh lighter. My mind feels satisfied and a little more open to my future adventures. I am carrying much less “tangible stuff” with me now. It really makes my heart feel good and I know that all these memories are still within, just not as a heavy bunch of boxes that take up so much space. So, as I set my bonfire pit ablaze and burn this paper trail, I say good bye for the very last time to this burdensome weight. Letting go of all these things doesn’t mean I’m losing anything, the reality here is, I’m gaining something. Gaining a new-found freedom. I don’t want to live among so much of the past. I want to breathe fresh air and have that freedom of movement, without so much to carry. I need less baggage, in my mind, my heart and most importantly, in my life.
All the photographs, the telegrams, the letters, the everything inside these boxes that are a part of the story, are now set free. I am now set free too. Free to move on to the next chapter, although I have no idea what it holds for me. I have no actual plan, other than to make a huge change in my life. People tell me, “you must have a plan!”, but why must I have the net step laid out? Why can’t I just pick a direction and go? Nothing etched out, no plan, other than to just explore and find out what lies ahead? I don’t know what I am going to do yet. I do know what I don’t want to do any longer, though. I know that I want and need a life change big time.
I am 60 years old and soon, I will be another year older. None of us knows how much time we have left. Life is way too short and I know there is a great big world out there. Although it’s been quite some time, I’d like to explore some of it again. When I sell my homestead, I will store those things I’ve chosen to keep. I will head to the airport and fly in the direction I have chosen. I will rent a car and explore until I feel the desire to hang my hat, once again. I will embrace the excitement of the unknown, without fear. I will look forward to making new friendships, new relationships. I will welcome new sunrises and sunsets. I am not afraid to change my life without having it etched out before me, knowing each step I will take beforehand. I have the courage to do so, knowing that this is one reason why we have storage units, airports and car rentals available to us.
So…who says I don’t have a plan? What I do have is the strength to accept those things I cannot change, the courage to change those things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. The time has come for me to feel the freedom to live the rest of my life, with a childish excitement. I’m going to color outside the lines, I’m going to travel outside the box and just see what lies ahead, as I fly over the rainbow. I ask you…why, oh why, can’t I?