This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lectures on this subject are titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years.” Her memoir, available at Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com
Now, on to my blog:
The seventy-foot moving van arrived this morning (it’s an aggregator, transporting the possessions of different people all going in the same direction.) I’m getting ready to move from my house of forty-five years into a condo in an active, senior retirement community almost four hundred miles away. It’s a seismic change for me—scary and exciting all rolled into one. It’s a good thing I didn’t know how awful such an endeavor would be, or I don’t think I would have started it.
I am a hoarder—not to be confused with a clutterer. My house is neat and clean. But, my closets, cupboards, cabinets, drawers, garage, and anywhere else you can stuff stuff are bursting with the things I’ve been saving for decades in case I might need them. You know what I mean; the minute you throw something away, it’s not a week later that you’ll be searching for it.
I’ve spent the last months sorting through it all, including the boxes of stuff my son dropped off when he graduated college almost twenty-five years ago. So, now I must decide what to keep, give away, donate, recycle, or throw away. It’s been painful, exhausting, devastating, cleansing, liberating, and consuming.
These days, you can’t just carelessly discard those important papers you’ve been accumulating. Now you must shred them as they contain sensitive information which can be retrieved from dumpsters and used to steal your identity. I attacked those papers with my little office shredder, but when that became cumbersome and didn’t make a dent in the job, I hauled about four hundred pounds of documents to a local shredding event put on by the city.
I culled my collection of thousands of old photographs taken before the technique became digital. I threw away snapshots of beautiful rivers, mountains, deserts, canyons, and other assorted scenery I long ago forgot the locations of. I vow I will never take another picture of anything that doesn’t have a person in it who I know and like.
You can no longer throw paint, old medications, old household cleaners, electronic devices, and the like in the garbage. You must haul them to the toxic waste and electronic disposal sites. Each time I tried to throw such an item in the dumpster, my good citizen guilt pulled my arm back and made me put it in the trunk of my car for recycling.
Of course, I chose to pack my own things; I’m no wimp. To that end, I trolled alleys visiting those same dumpsters seeking cardboard cartons to pack what remained. Loading up my car, I drove home with my daily harvest. Finding the boxes was easy. We have become an “order online” society, throwing away the wonderful containers used to deliver our purchases. Huge boxes grew in my garage to a total of twenty-nine, waiting patiently for the moving van to collect them along with the furniture I chose to keep.
I’ve become buff with all the physical labor I’ve been doing. It’s more effective than working out at the gym, and a lot cheaper. I will be sad to leave my home city since childhood and my friends of many years. Conversely, I’m eagerly anticipating my coming life and the new friends and experiences that await me. Is it time for you to move on? It’s better to do it when you can rather than when you must.
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