There are more rites of passage for baby boomers than we can count, but certainly one that is either ahead of most of us … or already behind us … is the task of downsizing. BoomerCafé co-founder and publisher David Henderson himself has just washed off the dust, after making a lot of fairly hard decisions. They’re hard because when it comes to downsizing, those decisions are permanent.
I still don’t comprehend downsizing. It’s like many of us decided to molt our feathers or get age spots on our hands at the same time of life. I didn’t realize how many of my friends had also decided to actively downsize — to whittle down a lifetime of possessions and stuff — until I started my own downsizing project and found that I could not give away things to anyone, stuff I thought someone would like. “No thanks” was often the reply, “I’m also trying to cut back.”
Heck, my old high school pal Fred said no to a framed sketch of Tops Drive-In in Arlington, Virginia. It was where we all hung out as teens, like the Mel’s Drive-In featured in the early ‘70s film American Graffiti. Tops closed decades ago, replaced by a McDonald’s. Come to think of it … why the heck did I have a sketch of Tops Drive-In anyway?!
What is it that seemingly intuitively taps us on the shoulders and whispers that it’s time to live with fewer things, less clutter? Something in our DNA? Awakening to a particular rustle of the leaves in the wind? What we see in our eyes when we look in the mirror … and just know it’s time?
Where did all that stuff come from anyway, all that stuff which I had collected and stored? Family heirlooms? Treasured memories? Just plain junk? My wife is a wise woman and simply says, “It’s from your long and rich life.”