Old enough to have a past and young enough to have a future!
Old enough to have a past and young enough to have a future!

The Art of Living Longer: The Upside of Downsizing by Anne Goldberg, The Savvy Senior

Does the thought of moving send shivers down your spine? You’re not alone. Moving is a major life event, causing anxiety for most people, especially when you consider that you will have to deal with the accumulation of a lifetime…  This experience is so universal that George Carlin did whole routines based on our stuff. “… Your house is just a place for your stuff. And… “Haven’t you noticed that everybody else’s stuff is (junk) and your (junk) is stuff?”

Carlin begs the question, do you own your stuff or does your stuff own you? Living large does not always mean living better. There are distinct advantages to downsizing. Streamlining your life saves you time, stress, money, energy and resources. A larger house beckons us to fill it with an endless array of stuff that needs to be cleaned and maintained. It requires a staff for the pool, home and lawn maintenance plus higher expenses for water, electric, taxes and insurance. And how about the upkeep? How much time do you spend taking care of things around the house? Downsizing means less time and money being spent taking care of the homestead, so there is more opportunity for travel and other recreational activities that make life sweet and meaningful.

Getting rid of our stuff though isn’t easy. There is an emotional cost. We have attachments to our stuff. It is part of what defines us. Some of it has a story to tell. If you are reading this and nodding your head, then I suggest you allow yourself the pleasure of looking around the room. What things do you see that make you smile and feel good inside?  What things are there that you don’t like? That’s where you start.

Then you make piles: One for trash; one for things to let your kids go through; another is to donate. Another pile is for those things that are sentimental. If it’s something you want to remember, take picture of it. For example, if you have a collection of tea pots, choose your favorite two or three to keep and photograph the rest for a slideshow on your computer, or make a poster to hang in your new home. Then add them to the pile to sell at a garage sale, consignment store or auction.

What’s important to remember is that stuff is just that. It doesn’t take the place of a good friend or family. It doesn’t give your life meaning and purpose. It can root you in the past, stopping you from living into a new future. Be a Savvy Senior. Downsizing has its upside! Look to the future as an exciting new adventure – at any age!

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