Thursday, August 22, 2013

Downsizing: Releasing Dreams

I've thought about it, even discussed it with my husband. But a friend just announced she and her husband are actually going to do it! 

They are "downsizing." 

I understand why her very active, in-his-late-seventies, husband no longer wants to spend so much energy trimming trees, keeping the ivy in check, and chasing the deer away from the hosta. 

I understand the appeal of living in a townhouse development that does the mowing and plans ahead to replace the roof. 

In fact, as our stamina flags we are anticipating our later years . We don't take on new projects, but maintain our home and the garden with the future buyer in mind. 

Do they want to spend 10 plus hours a week weeding and tending flowers and veggies? Maybe not. So I called a landscaper to help us deconstruct some of our beds.  For phase one I chose the space that is currently most neglected.  Bit by bit we are digging out the day lilies to transplant.  Then we'll seed it for lawn. 

Twelve years ago I started with about 50 lilies. Oh my word. Today we split clumps, and split again. And I've already divided those into over 150 viable plants. I still have half of the bed to dig up. 

I wish our retirement fund had multiplied as fast. 

This all comes back to downsizing.  My goal is to have less gardening. But right now, I've multiplied my regular chores immeasurably. 

The lesson, I guess, is that you have to anticipate when you must downsize in order to accomplish it.  And the difficulty is multiplied when you can't let go of  "stuff." 

It's for sale on Etsy!
My mother began downsizing thirty years ago. I remember when boxes from her would arrive in the mail. My daughters quickly learned there wasn't anything any of us wanted. No use for an old Girl Scout Handbook, or the Simplicity and Vogue patterns. (Okay, I lied. I did tie one knot using the handbook's directions. And I saved a few patterns, now wildly out of style and sizes too small.)

What lies behind my reluctance to throw out the patterns? Or rip up a failed landscaping project? Or give away the piano?

I think it means releasing dreams. Some are easily surrendered. I can only relinquish others by declaring them dead and turning my back. 

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