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  • Writer's pictureSarahHauer

Downsizing: The Upside to Upsizing (and An Announcement Thrown In)




I have moved many times in my adult life. The last two moves, and a divorce to boot, required massive amounts of downsizing. Every time, I ended up in a depressive cycle having to let go of things with attached memories. Downsizing sucks!


Today, I am considering doing it yet again. Frankly, there isn't much left to get rid of. I'm down to my bed, my antique desk, photos, and books. However, life is changing for me yet again. That, and my daughter is graduating from college and is about to move out on her own. I will officially be an empty-nester. Even the cat is going with her. I may be getting an aquarium or something in the future.


My daughter looking around our apartment: "You've got to get rid of those books."

Me: "I can't get rid of those books."


Is she nuts? Those books are my friends. A good chunk of them have been around since I hit puberty and started voraciously reading. My mother went from complaining I wasn't reading enough to complaining she couldn't get my nose out of a book for anything. (Hey, daughter of mine, does that sound familiar?)


Those books have notes and bent corners and tear stains from my broken heart and memories of life endured.


Photo albums. Photo boxes. Art projects from my kids when they were in school. Journals, journals, and more journals. My paintings. Even the woven rag rugs have special reasons for still being in my possession. Gifts from my best friend during the roughest times in my life even as she endured her own. There are plenty of things crammed into my bookshelves.


How does one downsize from that? I am down to fewer utilitarian items and more items with personal value.

.

I did the typical downsizing in my previous moves. Tons of clothes. Kitchen gadgets purchased with the best of intentions went out the door with boxes still in tact. Household furniture and accessories after the "he said, she said" bs was all done in divorce. Outdoor sports equipment after kids tossed them aside and moved on in life.


On the surface, procrastinating from downsizing appears as laziness. I suppose at times that is what it is. Not most of the time. We aren't all that lazy. Downsizing procrastination is much more. It's emotional, thoughtful, and sometimes painful. Depending on how deep the downsizing is, it can lead to grief cycles.


I remember when my ex-husband and I bought our first living room furniture as newlyweds in Rochester, Minnesota while he worked his internship with IBM way back in 1990. We bought a sofa set with cash from a lovely couple through the newspaper classified ads. Does anyone remember the classifieds? I think the set cost us $100. That was a lot of money back then. Wait, that's a lot of money today.


We really didn't have the money to spend as we were just starting out. In fact, we were barely back from our honeymoon. But we needed the furniture. It was a sofa/loveseat set in a nice lighter brown, neutral color. Good quality furniture (although, my mother hated it). We didn't have any choice about buying the set. We desperately needed to replace the couch we had. Our couch at the time was four folding chairs lined up with a huge patchwork quilt drapped over the top of them that his grandmother made us as a wedding gift. Yes, for real. We were starting to make friends in the apartment building, and needed a better place for them to sit when they came to watch hockey and play euchre. (That's a card game.)


However, instead of sitting on the sofa set, we all sat at the chairs around the card table playing. That fact only occurred to me this moment after all these years. Life is funny.


Years later, when I got rid of that sofa set, I cried over those memories of our time in Rochester, and over other memories such as our first child learning to walk by holding onto that brown sofa when it resided with us in Burnsville, Minnesota.


We humans have this tendency to assign value to objects. It's in our nature. Those values aren't always about past memories. Sometimes, they are about un-lived plans.


When we moved from Minnesota to California, our living space dropped by a whole 50%. That's a lot, especially when you still have children living with you. We had to get rid of large things, fun toy-type of stuff, in order to fit into our new digs. We got rid of our pool table and basketball hoop and the fishing boat. That move hurt!


Those items not only held important memories for us, they also held future intentions that didn't come to pass. We had visions of doing things with people special to us with and around those things. We had to grieve not only the loss of those items but also the loss of those dreams.


And then, there is the pain that comes with forced downsizing from loss. When my ex-husband divorced me, I was forced to move into a small apartment. He and I had to do the deed and go through all our stuff together. We had a garage sale and sold off the objects that represented our life together we no longer had. That downsizing activity was both a blessing and a curse to me.


It was a curse in how it forced me to let go of my personal identity in my marriage. My life was built around that man. That life was no more. Those things sustained that life.


However, it was also an eye-opening blessing. By getting rid of those things, I was given the gift of room to grow for myself. I was given the blessed opportunity to redefine myself in my own terms, and re-create my own being. I am ready to upsize!


Downsizing is required before proper upsizing can take place. Things, not just attitudes, can block growth.


Nothing stunts personal growth more than the refusal to stop looking behind. Looking ahead has a much better view. Looking at today is where all the action is.


Today, I sit in my apartment in the middle of making another big change that both excites and challenges me:


I am starting another sole proprietorship business. I am taking all my experiences with sexual assault, chronic disease and chronic pain, and divorce; and, I am starting a life coaching business.


I have been working on certification since last November. I need a few more weeks to go until done. The website, which will run separately yet also in tandem with my author website and blog, is not yet up and running. My business cards are only in the design stage at this point. Nonetheless, I am up and running.


Coaching by Sarah H.N.


Yes, I have been promising another book. That book is still in the works. My plan was to launch the book in tandem with the business, but the business cannot wait any longer. The book is slowly moving along. It is being fitted with photos. Slowly. Because I just don't have enough hours in the day.


So, that is my announcement.


Keep moving forward! Upsizing, one step at a time. That is how it all gets done.


Thanks for reading!


Sarah

Humor In Chaos

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