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!!!!
Now, I will not lie.I am vain. But surely, you have figured that out, because it takes a certain amount of vanity to blog.
I used to imagine that what we had tried but had not accomplished in our life, would get accomplished in our death.I imagined our children – my one and my husband’s three – would come back to our house after “the funerals” and would stay and go through our stuff and talk and connect and find out who we really were by going through our stuff.I imagined “the girls” fingering my jewelry and dividing it up.I imagined them choosing which paintings and photographs they would take back with them and keep.I imagined “the boys” going through my husband’s sports collectibles and equipment and dividing them up.I imagined them sharing the photographs and swapping stories.
We are Jewish and we sit shiva for seven days.Surely that would allow enough time for all this bonding that never took place during our living years, to take place.
Then I remembered that my step children are not Jewish.They live far away.They have their own children and their own lives and they work.
So the question is:Do we do the children a favor and start getting rid of the excesses and NOT replace the stuff that we sell or give away or throw away?Or do we burden them by making them go through decades of our lives?