Friendsview Residents Web Site
by Frances Richie
“Help! I want to downsize, but am stuck. I would like to move to a retirement community while still young enough to enjoy all the amenities, but I am overwhelmed with the task of going through everything I own. What should I do?”
Whether single or married, divorced or widowed, most of us have hit the Downsizing Dilemma at some point in our lives. Flummoxed by what do with all of our “stuff”, we find ourselves full of conflicting emotions. We may feel sad we have to move. We may not even feel ready. Our kids may want nothing or everything. Our spouse might want to throw everything out and start fresh or keep everything and not part with even a favorite fishing hat! How do we start? How do we get “unstuck”?
I certainly have not moved as often as have many residents and former missionaries here at Friendsview. However, I have been able to glean some Helpful Hints for others in the process of downsizing my parents’ house and that of a dear aunt and uncle, as well as the three of my own homes. Although reading on the subject and listening to other people’s experiences have contributed to the HH list, the “School of Hard Knocks” has provided the most help. I learn best (unfortunately) by my mistakes. Thus, I am hoping this article may you help you ease into this downsizing process with aplomb.
Congratulations! You have successfully jumped over three major hurdles. Keep going. Ask God for help each day. As a hot-air balloon rises with every sandbag thrown overboard, your spirit will feel lighter each day. “Less is more.”
The quality of what you take to your new home becomes more important than the quantity. Bring objects you LOVE and are beautiful to you! Instead of 30 pictures of your mother, pick your most favorite and enclose it in a lovely frame. Have a techie-savvy family member digitize the family photos. Donate books to a university or local library. Continue to ask God for help as to what to keep and what to give away.
A wonderful book to read during this process is The Gift of Years, Growing Older Gracefully by Joan Chittester. It has nothing to do with downsizing, but everything to do with aging. Trust me, it will help!
In closing, I want to say the downsizing process is one of the most daunting, challenging, and important things we will do in our later years. It is also one of the most spiritual. Although we own our possessions, they do not own us. We are not the things we possess. We are loving children of God put on earth to help each other find Him. As we let go and relinquish possessions, we eventually find our lives abundantly full in our new retirement home. Our hot-air balloon has launched. We discover interesting new friends, activities, outings, spiritual gatherings, exercise and art classes, music, shop, games….the list goes on.
“Old age is not when we stop growing. It is exactly the time to grow in new ways.”