THIS BOOK WILL BE SHIPPED TO ME NEXT WEEK. THEN I WILL GET A DATE WHEN IT WILL BE OFFICIALLY AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE ON AMAZON AND / OR KINDLE.
PLEASE CELEBRATE WITH ME. I AM A STORY TELLER, AND WHILE I AM TELLING THE STORY OF MY LIFE, I RELIED ON SOME OF THE STORIES YOU SHARED WITH ME. I COULD NOT HAVE WRITTEN THIS BOOK WITHOUT ALL OF YOU AND SOME OF YOU I ONLY MET ON FACEBOOK.
Life is ironic by design. Your body is ready to reproduce years , even decades, before you are financially and emotionally ready to be a parent. By the time you are in your sixties and have gotten over how unique you are and you have fought for you independence and hopefully gained it , that is exactly when you want, no need , closeness and nurturing.
You turn to your kids and they squirm because they are all about establishing their own independence and they do not want to be burdened by your needs.
If you are in my socio economic bracket, you probably left the suburbs after your kids were born but before they had to go to school. You could not afford to stay in the city and ensure a good education for your child. If you are like me, you learned to appreciate the relative peace and quiet, the backyard, the pool in the summer, the local beaches and parks.
But ironically just as your house is done to your liking, just as maybe your mortgage is paid off or at least you can count down to that day, you wake up and want to chuck the whole white picket fence thing and move back to an apartment in the city. You want to walk everywhere. You want your super to have to shovel the snow and get your walls painted. You are willing to give up the two cars and rent one when you need it. You want to go out for breakfast coffee, You want to sit in cafés and people watch. You want to be part of a cultural Mecca and hear lively discussions about the work other people are doing.
But you have grandchildren. And you want them to come for the holidays. And you want them to move somewhere nearby so you can be useful again to your family in a meaningful way. You want to pass culture down and your kids can’t do it because both of them are working and they don’t have that to give. You are wiling to fill that void. But your children want their independence.
Of course I am talking about my situation. But I would be happy if you shared your experiences.
For years now I had a big sign “ACHIEVE” in capital letters carved out of wood sitting atop my book shelves in our office/den/second bedroom. It seemed appropriate at the time. We were not yet semi retired. We were still trying hard “to achieve,” although now ten years later, I cannot for the life of me remember what it was we were trying to achieve.
Once you are retired, you realize there is no more achieving. Your goal is to just get through the day, the week, the month, the year – stay healthy, pay the bills, and enjoy.
When I was on the local tv show to talk about my “decluttering dilemma” blogs along with the professional declutterer, a young woman on the tv crew asked me if she could have my “ACHIEVE” sign as I had brought that item in as an example of something I had but did not need.
I gave her the sign.
Now when I look up, there is an empty space on the top shelf. I remember that Barbara, the professional declutterer, said that the rule of thumb is – if you bring something new in, you should let something old go. Well, I let the something old go, and now I think I need a new sign that says: “NO NEED TO ACHIEVE.” Do you think I can find that at Homegoods? No but you can find this one on Etsy!!!!
I think about my tiny house. When I was in my forties, I could still dream of winning money and having my house moved to the Hamptons and plopped down where it truly belongs. But those were dreams and when you are sixty you don’t have any dreams. Even my house might go the way of the wrecking ball. The perennial garden that I had planted with my own bare hands will get excavated as this small cottage will be taken down and a new two family investment home will go up in its stead. I am not particularly sad when I realize this. I am not shocked. It would make sense financially.
I just can’t wrap my head around how quickly the time went by.
Remember that baseball movie Field of Dreams and the really sentimental “deep”one liner:“If you build it, they will come?”I am telling you: IF YOU BUILT IT, THEY WILL SELL IT!!!!!
The thing that got me started thinking about my “stuff” was a conversation I had with a complete stranger while we were standing on line at the Marriott in Birmingham, AL.I was there visiting my step children.Out of the blue, the woman in front of me on the line for breakfast omelets started telling me that she was in Birmingham to clean out her mother’s estate.She could not believe how much stuff she had to go through.She said she wished that her mother had given her a manual full of stories because she could not fathom the reason behind the items.What did they mean to her mother?To her they were just junk.She could not make heads or tails out of the clutter and she did not have the time to go through all of it.She had to get back to Texas to work.
When we got home, I looked around my tiny beach cottage home.I saw all the paintings that no one will be able to store even if they wanted to.I saw my furniture through the eyes of my daughter and step children.I have Ethan Allen traditional pieces alongside garage sale chic.Every item has a story.But who had time to tell the story and who had time to listen?
And besides, the adult kids all want West Elm.They aren’t interest in our stuff.