Downsizing? Not Us.

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What do you pack to pursue a dream and what do you leave behind?      Sandra Sharpe

An assumption as to why we are selling Simplicity is that we are downsizing.  Ever so quickly that word lands in the conversation and sits uncomfortably.  Somehow downsizing makes our move understandable.  It seems to be a norm and even an expectation that at a certain age, one changes the size of dwelling space and amount of possessions. While downsizing may make sense to people about our reason for moving, it is not accurate.


Downsizing frequently means a letting go, a simplifying, a lessening of the household responsibilities, a smaller space.  I must admit that some of this is true for us.  We are letting go of furniture and household items.  Craigslist has been a helpful partner.  With each sale, we have sent off a part of our former lives where it is given new life with new owners.  Family heirlooms that have been well loved in Simplicity, but do not fit our perceived life at Rumley Run, have found family members who delight in their opportunity to enjoy them. There is something very satisfying about this kind of letting go.


Sorting through stuff has also been a time of sorting out life.  Stephen Paul’s words give support to what we keep and what we don’t. “The space for what you want is already filled with what you settle for instead.”  We are letting go of many previous lives we have lived to make space for the life that is before us. Unless an item has a useful purpose or brings energy to this new life, it will not take up space in Rumley Run.  As each item leaves our possession, a space opens to dream in expanded ways.


Our recent morning conversations about what we leave behind, do not take with us, include emotional habits.  I will try to leave my extensive box of worries and competitive comparisons behind.  Don is committed to not rushing through life, but living in the moment. Naming these is helpful and clarifying. While an old habit is hard to break, at least we will give each of these our mindful attention and best effort.


Simplicity has also given us her best effort, reaching her limit to handle our future needs and requests. I, too, have reached my limit. The difficulty of fitting life in these boxy rooms and how to add more light has exhausted me. To ask Simplicity for more light and flexibility would mean knocking out walls and changing her very character. Years ago, I promised her that I would never change her basic bone structure. Both of us have reached the capacity of our ability to honor the other.


The word downsizing can also be attached to a lifestyle that is quieter and less involved. From some, I have heard the pain that a part of life has been taken away, even diminished, by this act of downsizing.  Perhaps this is where I feel the rub.  Everything about the move to Rumley Run is about growing ourselves and expanding our possibilities. When we walked into Rumley, instantly we felt its spaces ready to assist, support and encourage our next stage of life.  This home opens a whole new world for our creative energies, our marriage, and our opportunity to explore other parts of who we are.


As Don says, “This move is almost like changing cultures.”  Going from an American Four Square to a twenty-first century ranch, is a dramatic change of living environments.  In nearly every way, the new house is the exact opposite of Simplicity. What awaits us on Rumley Run?  A life where the simple daily patterns will be influenced by our new spaces. Where we have coffee, how we answer the door, hang up our coats, do laundry, what we see out the window, how we place our furniture.  Everything will be different than it was in Simplicity.


“It is likely that our conversations will change in Rumley from those in Simplicity,” Don adds.  I understand exactly what he means. No longer will talk be spent on how to make changes in Simplicity to fulfill our needs or where we will live next or will we ever find a place that fits us well.  The space will fill us with new energy, new thoughts, new understandings.


Within days of moving into our new home, we begin our twentieth year of marriage.  Another re-set of life. A threshold moment that holds both the gift of a known history together and an unknown future before us.  Where the unknowns are wrapped in a package of wonderful wild adventures to be lived and discovered.  We have found the perfect place waiting for us on the bend of Rumley Run.  Nothing about this feels like downsizing.


(Photo Credit:  Don Mendenhall)

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