Life Deconstructed

This is the post excerpt.

 

This was written several years ago. Since it was written, my mom has passed away.  However, the sentiments still hold true. I continue to struggle with how to go about downsizing my stuff without downsizing my dreams.

I have decided that disassembling a person’s life is one of the most emotionally taxing things I’ve had to do. This week I am in New Mexico helping my sister move my mother out of her home and into my sister’s home. My mother’s condo is filled with a myriad of items collected and loved over a lifetime of 94 years.

We have to do considerable downsizing in order to make this move. The two of us are sitting side by side, pulling items out one at a time and passing judgement – Goodwill – Garbage – Keep – knowing that each item we discard is something that she has loved enough to hold on to.

So, how do we decide? I don’t know. Is the tattered teddy bear a treasure or is it trash? Is it something that she loved and was comforted by as a child or is it something she picked up on QVC a few years ago that was made to look old?

As the Goodwill and Garbage piles grow, so does my sense of sadness. This is a metaphor for life. As we age, we do downsize our lives. My mom has moved from a 4000 square foot house to a 1000 square foot condo, and now to a 120 square foot room.

I realize that I have downsized too. When I was twenty, I had grand visions of how I would change the world. Today, I pray to make a difference in one child’s life. I have downsized my dreams. So I’m sitting here wondering if this is a mistake… if I should continue to dream big, or if I’m setting myself up for failure by trying to achieve 20 year old dreams with a 60 year old body.

I’ve cried this week. I’m not sure if I’m crying over my mom’s stuff, or if I’m crying for myself as I face my own personal downsizing. I suspect it is a bit of both. What I am comforted by is the fact that as the volume of my mother’s “stuff” is reduced, the love she has from those of us around her is not. There is no downsizing there, and so she is still a very lucky 94 year old.

 

Author: Jennifer C. Walts, Ed.D.

I am a retired educator and School Improvement Specialist.

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