minimizing, junk, wordly possession, happy, value, sentimental items, the more the better, abundance, liberating, accumulation, memory lane, tricky decisions, cleaning out, coordinating, clutter, epiphany, assisted living, "to do", maximize your life
It's a strange experience when your life is moving 100 miles an hour and something brings it, albeit temporarily, to a screeching halt. You can be humming along, taking care of business and, in an instant, all the things on your “To Do” list - all those big, important projects that feel so “do-or-die” - suddenly take a back seat to the situation at hand.
That’s exactly what happened several weeks ago when my husband and I received word from my Father-in-law, John, that it was time to make the inevitable move to assisted living. Severe emphysema and a few falls had finally taken their toll, and he was ready to go.
Now, I have to tell you that John is one of those guys who does not waste time – once a decision is made, there’s one speed, and that’s pedal to the floor (it’s one of the things I love most about him.) So, in one fell swoop, our lives (and my ultra important “To Do” list) turned from writing, marketing and seeing clients, to getting the house in order, coordinating, cleaning out, divvying up, sorting through, and making some often tricky decisions.
For both my husband and me, it meant hours of commuting, labor, sweat, walks down memory lane, and lots and lots of black leaf bags. The process of compassionately sorting through 90 years of life, laughter and accumulation is not a fast one, but it was oddly liberating, even though it wasn’t my stuff. And this brings me to my point and, also, to the epiphany I experienced as we made our way through the last leg of the move.
With my Father-in-law settled in his new place, everything sorted, stashed and situated, my husband and I drove home, silent with exhaustion. In the quiet of that trip, I realized, very clearly, that something profound had shifted for me – in ways that were both surprising and, admittedly, a little frightening.
Having always embraced the idea of abundance - of being surrounded by beautiful things – all of life’s finest accoutrements, I realized, to my astonishment (and my husband’s,) that this was no longer what I wanted. For years, my mantra and mindset has been “The more the better – bigger, better, fancier, nicer.” Up to this point, that attitude has served me well… but maybe not so much anymore.
So, here I am, pondering a few questions:
#1 – How much do I like or even want all my “stuff?”
#2 – If I could only have a few sentimental items, which ones would make the cut?
#2 – Of all the beautiful things in my house that have a dollar value, what value do they hold for me? Do they make me truly happy and, if not, why am I keeping them around?
#3 – Do I really need such a big place? What… to accumulate and store even more stuff?
#4 – If, right now, someone had to sort through all of my worldly possessions, junk and all, what experience would I like them to have?
My plan is to give these questions a few weeks to sink in before I do anything really drastic, but my gut tells me it’s time to downsize, not just my house, but my "To Do" list as well. Oddly, it’s an idea that feels really, really good and really, really right.
About the Author:
Dianne Orwig is a success coach, motivational speaker, fitness trainer, and founder of LivingFit Online™, a fitness program that has helped thousands of men and women completely transform their bodies and live healthier, happier lives though her less-is-better approach.
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