My mother and stepfather are downsizing. The emotional result of this for me is that they will have friends and medical care close by. The logistical result of this for me (and my sibs) is an influx of STUFF. The process has been interesting for me as an observer of my Mom, and for me as a recipient of said stuff.
This move has been a challenge for my Mom. She was pretty much in charge of all of the logistics of this kind of undertaking, probably for the first time in her life, and she did manage to get it all done (or at least found people to do all of the parts, which is essentially the same). I was prepared for it to be hard for her, but I had it all wrong about WHAT would be difficult. I assumed that letting go of a lifetime of (at least some) meaningful objects would be really hard. I was dead wrong.
The part she struggled with was organizing the whole mess, making the big decisions and following through with the practical outcomes of those decisions. Once she had made the big decisions, the rest just followed. Once she knew she wanted to make this move, the only hard part was navigating the list of phone calls and services, negotiating with buyers and real estate agents, wrangling her way through scheduling movers. Getting rid of the stuff? No problem.
I like to imagine that the ease of this part of the transition, something I thought would be so difficult, has everything to do with that initial decision. She battled with that decision for years. She considered all of the aspects. She changed her mind at least half a dozen times. She toured places and tortured herself trying to figure out what the best answer would be. At some point, I stuck my nose in, as I often do when I smell self-torture. I asked if I could offer her a tool. She said yes (she always says yes, in part because she’s my Mom and in part because she was a social worker and I think she finds my work interesting). I suggested that she cease the spreadsheet-making for a few minutes and simply try to imagine what the best days would look like for her. What would she most like to do? Where would she most like to be? Who would she like to be around? What options would she like to have? If she could script a regular old Tuesday, what would it look like?
That seemed to help her find a path through all of the facts and figures, and the conviction she has behind the choice she made has made the “emotional” part of this move infinitely easier. She knows why she’s moving. She knows what she’s signing up for. She knows how much she wants it and suddenly glass baubles and extra seating just isn’t so important. She can shed them as unnecessary for the part of her life she wants to create next. There is liberation in releasing the things that tie us to an old vision of what we want.
And so now I look around, at all of these things that have come into my life, and I wonder how they fit into the days I want to create. What can I shed from the last era to make room for the kind of home, day, life I want to build next? The answer comes from the vision and the vision is my own. I just need to give myself the space, the time, and the freedom to see it without all of the other mental clutter getting in the way.
If you need some help dialing in to your vision, if you have decisions to make and don’t know where to begin, I’d love to help.