Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Baby Boomers Downsizing and Simplifying

The last couple of days I've spent time in the attic.  Sorting.....bagging.....tossing.....holding childhood toys for the last time......and wiping tears.  Hubby is tackling the basement.

We baby boomers are facing some heart and gut-wrenching tasks.  Our closets and storage spaces are packed with stuff we don't even know we have.  Monday of this week, the two of us joined forces to tackle the dreaded job of getting rid of 45 years of material possessions.  We've never moved from the house we started out in, so it's all here.  

Having no kids means that we're the sole pilots of our plane.  With the exception of a childhood rocker, a high chair that held three generations, gramma's sewing machine, and a clock.....there's really no family heirlooms to pass on.  The auction arena seems like the most practical place for it all to go.  Every generation has to deal with late-life partings and good-byes.  I just didn't expect my turn to come up this soon.  

The auction business has taken on wings these days.  It's gone global with the use of the Internet bidding, which gives the seller a better chance of making some money from the attic's vintage pieces.  Anyone can go to the local auction, but there may be someone in Malaysia bidding against you.  

The sentimental-sally in me can't help but wonder where my doll house furniture and Goldilocks rag doll will end up.  My doll house furniture was packed away for the last 55 years in my daddy's shoe box.  The price tag is still on the box, with a picture of the shoe style.  Back then the shoes cost $3.29.  Today, a pair like that would cost well over $100.  

Aging holds many fear factors, as we are finding.  We visit every day about it, the two of us.  Our worst fear is losing the other and the fuzzy one.  We are a world of three that won't last forever.  The attic, the basement, and garage are monkeys on our backs.  We're hoping to be around yet for a good twenty more years, but we don't want to carry those monkeys with us.  The ages 60s and 70s have blessings and burdens alike.  The challenge now is getting a grip on the burdens and aggressively getting rid of them.  

The book of our marriage, hopefully, has a lot of chapters left.  But, our friends are losing their spouses.  Whether we like to admit it or not, things could change in a heartbeat.  I'm one that doesn't want to be blindsided by the unexpected if there's something I can do about it.  That's why I'm spending a couple hours each day in the attic......preparing for the next stage of our life.....and Simplicity is going to play an integral part of how smooth that transition will come to be.  The last thing we want is for one of us to be left with the mess.  That just wouldn't be fair.

The trick is being strong-willed, realistic, and upbeat.  We're working hard at looking ahead at what can be.....not backward at what can never be.  And, I feel therein lies the difference between sadness and a new-found source of happiness.