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Old 09-17-2011, 09:15 AM
 
Location: Olympia, WA
363 posts, read 426,627 times
Reputation: 704

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We faced a life-changing decision in 1996. The kids were gone, I was working in an office that had a "male chauvinist pig" as a director. He said women were good for opening the mail and making coffee (oh don't get me off on that subject!). My husband was a long-haul trucker gone from home for weeks. I was miserable that he was gone, he was miserable that he was gone from home without me. Also, my mom had just died recently. That made me really look at life in a different way.

We had a nice home that I had decorated to the hilt. I felt that all the decorations represented who I was, and a reflection of what was in my heart. We had a 34' camper that we had bought, planned to have it paid for by the time we retired, then go traveling in it. That was the goal, as I think is the goal of many folks, you work, retire, then go have fun and do things you have waited all your life to do.

One day I was reading a magazine that had a short article about a book, Take Your Life Off Hold, by Ted Dreier. It was about people doing NOW what they anticipated doing later on in life. It was about believing in yourself that you could do anything you wanted to, not what society expected you to do.

So I got the book from the library and read it.....three times.....took notes from some of the quotes in the book.....and that book changed our lives. The author encourages you to do NOW what you have put off for the future. Don't wait until you retire to travel, do it now if that's what you are able to do. What about all that "stuff" in my house? It was who I was!! Where would the kids come home to if we did not have our house?

The author points out some very realistic points. If you lost everything in a fire or flood or some other natural disaster, you would still be the same person inside. Your possessions don't make you the person with the wonderful heart and soul. You have that all along!

When my husband came home from his next trip, I was so excited to tell him that I had read this book and here was the plan: sell the house, move into the camper parked in an RV park, and me go with him on the truck! Well, he had to think about it for a while, a long while! To make a long story short, it's what we did.

We put our house on the market. After it sold, we had the biggest garage/house/yard sale you ever saw. We moved our recliners into the camper and our personal stuff; I got all the momentos that I really wanted to keep and put them in a box in our camper. I was so excited to start this new chapter in our lives that I was willing to part with all that I thought made me who I was. After the house sold, and most all the possessions gone, guess what? I was still me, more confident in ourselves, had the same heart and soul, and eager to embark on new adventures with my husband.

We parked the camper in a beautiful RV park and started what I liked to call our "paid vacation." We were doing all the traveling we wanted to do later in life, and we got paid for it as we were earning a living. I kept notes and wrote a newsletter every couple of months and sent to family and friends. I have been most fortunate to have seen this beautiful country of ours. My most memorable trip was a layover in Oklahoma City and going to the site of the Murrah Federal Building before the memorial was built. I would not trade all those experiences for anything in the world.

One of the many things we learned from this experience is that we wished we had done it sooner. And yes, now years later and many changes in our lives, we once again have acquired more stuff. My husband is in poor health. We have the memories that will last a lifetime, we are the same people with a wealth of experiences, and we will always be thankful that we "took our life off hold."
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Old 09-17-2011, 10:12 AM
 
18,852 posts, read 31,722,131 times
Reputation: 26118
Change is difficult. But a life of inertia, because of being paralyzed by not being able to make a decision based on possessions is sad. It may seem to be overwhelming.

Embrace your new life free from possessions. Read a book by Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Jesus Christ, all people who did not define their lives by possessions.
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Old 09-17-2011, 10:31 AM
 
Location: Bar Harbor, ME
1,922 posts, read 3,779,855 times
Reputation: 1292
I feel sad for guys like Tngirl205 talk about. It must be very sad for him that he's never met a vivacious sexy woman, who can converse at an intellectual level at or above his, who has many accomplishments to her name, and most important loves the man.

To be so deprived that he only sees women in that way, and not as wonderful companions through life, and as equals, is depressing for the people he works with. But in many ways its even more depressing for him to have missed more than half of the joys of living.
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Old 09-17-2011, 10:53 AM
 
6,441 posts, read 4,431,122 times
Reputation: 13545
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunnydee View Post
We just got rid of all of our furniture, most of our household items, a car, and the truck we've had since 1987. We put the essentials into some relo cubes, shipped them 1,000 miles, and left a lifetime of friends and relatives behind in order to be near my parents in Florida. It was hard to get rid of things, but to be honest I don't miss the things, I miss the people. You have to focus on what you will gain not what you are losing. That simple mental shift makes all the difference in the world. I wish you well on this new chapter of your life.
I did the same, gave away two bedrooms of stuff plus much more, sent the rest in cubes from Dallas to Florida. I don't miss the stuff and have given more to the shelter since I got here. It is the friends I miss.
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Old 09-17-2011, 11:36 AM
 
Location: Bar Harbor, ME
1,922 posts, read 3,779,855 times
Reputation: 1292
Between the two of us, we have so many important books that we couldn't possible put in a camper.

I'm really not sure i understand the point of downsizing. Can someone explain this to me.
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Old 09-17-2011, 11:38 AM
 
48,516 posts, read 83,943,432 times
Reputation: 18050
I know that as a person who does not get attached to things that its not the same for everyone as to what they value. My wife's not like me. One perosn like me saying its just a dinning table is like a person saying hey are glad their children are grown and moved out as it was such a bruden relief.I fact soe saying they don't want the burden of children.Why not look for a apartment that is alitte roomier that is single level;I have seen many I have visited.I live i a house larger than i woudl ahve choosen alone but I compromised as I knew my wife valued certain things that required more room than was my preferance.
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Old 09-18-2011, 09:00 AM
Status: "Support the Mining Law of 1872" (set 10 days ago)
 
Location: Cody, WY
9,581 posts, read 10,926,696 times
Reputation: 19215
I've read some depressing posts from people fading into the twilight years; but this thread has presented the creme de la creme of sorrow and surrender. One of the greatest philosophers of our age has beautifully described what really matters.


Daffy Duck - All i want for Christmas is more more more - YouTube
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Old 09-18-2011, 09:41 AM
 
Location: Port Orange, FL
237 posts, read 637,209 times
Reputation: 161
The hardest job I had was cleaning out my parents house. They held onto everything. I gave to family and friends things that they wanted to remind themselves of our parents. The rest I sold. When my wife decided that she didn't want to endure anymore Michigan winters, we bought a house in Florida. We gave furniture, clothes, tools (mechanical and lawn) and things that we didn't need any longer to our children. We also called and donated to Red Cross and the Salvation Army. We moved from 3000 sq ft to 1500. It was tough giving away things that we had for years, but I didn't want the kids to go through the same thing that I had experienced sorting through my folks things that they accumulated over 65 years.

If you aren't retired yet, do your research in the area that you think you'll want to spend the rest of your life in...for us the hardest part is not being with the kids and grandkids, we use Skype to contact them and try to get back at least twice a year. Learn about the areas, laws, customs, weather, insects crime and real estate values...This is an important part/decision in your lives and it needs to take in planning, costs and comforts for a smooth transition. I've also learned to live without all of my books as it takes me reading through almost half a book before I realize that I've read it before...
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Old 09-18-2011, 11:02 AM
 
Location: Amelia Island
2,977 posts, read 3,960,816 times
Reputation: 3088
Quote:
Originally Posted by Starrman69 View Post
The hardest job I had was cleaning out my parents house. They held onto everything. I gave to family and friends things that they wanted to remind themselves of our parents. The rest I sold. When my wife decided that she didn't want to endure anymore Michigan winters, we bought a house in Florida. We gave furniture, clothes, tools (mechanical and lawn) and things that we didn't need any longer to our children. We also called and donated to Red Cross and the Salvation Army. We moved from 3000 sq ft to 1500. It was tough giving away things that we had for years, but I didn't want the kids to go through the same thing that I had experienced sorting through my folks things that they accumulated over 65 years.

If you aren't retired yet, do your research in the area that you think you'll want to spend the rest of your life in...for us the hardest part is not being with the kids and grandkids, we use Skype to contact them and try to get back at least twice a year. Learn about the areas, laws, customs, weather, insects crime and real estate values...This is an important part/decision in your lives and it needs to take in planning, costs and comforts for a smooth transition. I've also learned to live without all of my books as it takes me reading through almost half a book before I realize that I've read it before...

I am a very un-materialistic person and a minalminist (do not need a lot of possesions). Being an only child I had the same task as the poster above had when my mom passed away. I have to say it was very hard for me to go through the things that were important to her but not for me. There was not a high value on anything but she loved each and every item. I kept the pictures and a few knick knacks and asked close friends if they wanted anything and donated the rest.

Society has changed and we no longer always live in the house we have raised our children in. We move and we downsize, the small things we have accumulated over a lifetime that recall special times, events or places we have visited are a hard thing to part with for many people.

People hold sentimental values differently and I feel for those having to downsize. Another way to look at it is your preparing for the future as I have seen and been a part of some pretty vicious sibling actions over estates (my grandmothers house took over 10 years to sort out amongst remaining children). Good luck, and a little at a time is better than all at once!
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Old 09-18-2011, 12:17 PM
 
Location: Finally escaped The People's Republic of California
11,119 posts, read 7,569,649 times
Reputation: 6217
I hope (and Plan) to retire at age 55 in 4 more years. WE have a 3 bedroom home filled with our "junk".
Both of us have looked around and decided that we will take a horse trailer filled with out stuff, and if it don't fit we will sell , give, or just throw away the rest....
We plan on moving 2000 miles away the day I retire....
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