I’m a wife, mother, grandmother, writer and retired teacher just trying to figure out how I want to live in this chapter of my life. I feel really drawn toward minimalism in its philosophy and style. My faith in Christ seems to want to express itself in a lifestyle of simplicity, thoughtfulness and generosity. But I can’t just put on something and be fake, it has to flow out of me naturally. So, this is my blog about how I’m figuring it all out.
I hope you find something here that will inspire, help or entertain you.
Here’s an article about why I started all this minimalism stuff…
What Am I Doing?
Does it seem crazy that a 54 year old grandmother is embracing minimalism and simplicity and sort of remaking her life? I don’t know. I never knew my grandparents, none of them. And the grandparents that I’ve met seem like settled, calm, old souls surrounded by their mementos and chihuahuas. But I’m just not like that. I don’t know how to do this – this old, grandmotherly life. There’s got to be a way that I can live out this next chapter of my life that is true and honest to me.
I was born in the 60’s, lived through disco and punk rock. Jeans, t-shirt and sneakers are my uniform. I dance in the kitchen to 70’s rock on Pandora, watch SNL, follow William Shatner on Twitter, tune up old Monty Python movies on Netflix. I don’t know if I can get an RV, put on a fanny pack, dress my poodle in a shirt that says, “I love mommy” and hit the road to collect spoons from all 50 states.
I don’t know how to do this. And you’re wondering why I’m even having a struggle? Why do I feel pressured about it anyway?
Let me tell you about the year of loss. It will explain a lot.
This past year, 2016, my best friend died of breast cancer. My stepmother died of breast cancer. My mother-in-law died of a heart attack. My best friend from childhood died of I don’t know what. My father moved into an assisted living facility.
This past year, 2016, I quit my teaching job of 17 years.
This past year, 2016, I discovered some details about my mother’s death which prompted me to look into her life and find out who the woman was who gave birth to me and then died 3 years later. What I found out blew to pieces what I had believed for 54 years. Things weren’t what they seemed.
That was a lot of loss.
As I stood in my best friend’s closet going through her t-shirt collection and underwear drawer, I realized that someone, not too far from now, was going to stand in my closet and go through my underwear and t-shirts. That realization punched me in the gut like a prize fighter.
I watched my best friend’s sister stand in the living room with her hands full of photographs, crying, “What do I do with these?” That same prize fighter hit me with a right hook and said, “What will they do with your photos that you love so much when you’re gone?”
My father-in-law spent months going through boxes and boxes full of photos, trinkets, and pieces of memories of a 50+ year marriage. He sorted and organized only to have most of it go to a thrift store. The prize fighter landed another blow and said, “There will come a time when your stuff will go to a thrift store and no one will know the meaning of it.”
I came to the realization that there was so much about my family that I would NEVER know. The stories were never told and now those stories and facts have disappeared. If people’s stories are not told and remembered, written down and recorded, then those people dissolve into a name and a birth and death date on a tombstone or a line on ancestry.com. K.O.
Oh my God! How depressing! I know! It was! I lived it!
After I recovered from the prize fighter blows, I pulled myself together and came to some conclusions:
- I’m going to bite the big one, one day.
- I want to be remembered. Somehow, some way.
- My kids and grandkids will know my story and the story of family members whose story I know.
- My kids and grandkids will have memories of me, time we spent together. And those memories will be good. They will know that I loved them. All my accomplishments and exploits won’t be worth a pile of beans if they didn’t know I loved them.
- I’ve got a lot of stuff, remnants of a life well lived. (I’m still living, don’t worry and more junk to accumulate I imagine.)
- My kids don’t want my stuff. It’s my stuff. They have their own.
- I don’t want to spend the rest of my life housing stuff, making sure my stuff is safe and taken care of. I love my family more than my stuff. I want to spend my time and money with and on them.
- My special mementos and memories are only special to me and those who experienced it. Without the memory of the moment, they are meaningless. Without the memory connected to it, they are thrift store fodder
- The people who go through your stuff after you’re gone are your super tight roll dawgs and they really do love you and they want to honor and respect you. So, it’s incredibly hard for them to make decisions about your stuff. I think it’s thoughtful to go ahead and make those decisions for them before they are stuck with that chore.
- The same with those medical and financial decisions. It really stinks to have to guess what your loved one would have wanted. I want to be thoughtful and go ahead and decide what I want done and not wait til the last minute.
So, I set about on a course to get my “s*&%” together and make some of those preemptive decisions.
And since I had quit my job of 17 years, I had time and the presence of mind to do it. And it gave me something to do while I figured out what I was going to do next.
BUT…(cue the screeching tire sound) last year, 2016, I had 2 beautiful grandboys!
And all this “getting my affairs in order” death talk was just depressing and worrisome to my kids who were excited to introduce me to my grandchildren and had high hopes of a new and exciting chapter of family life! And there were memories and photos and stuff I wanted to share with the new family members.
THEN…(face palm) I find out that I have high blood pressure. Given that I have already outlived my mother and sister, I feel that I must be more aggressive in taking care of my health. So, there you ago, another area of my life to pay more attention to, be deliberate about.
So….how do I balance it all out? How do I reconcile getting older, knowing that there is an inevitable end with living today and the rest of my days with joy and gratitude?
Well, the first thing I wanted to do was to slim down. Streamline my life. Then take care of important decisions.
And finally, I wanted to free myself up to have fun and play and make memories with my kids and grandkids. I know it sounds cliche to say “make memories” but when I’m gone that’s how I will be remembered.
In reality, I’ve been working on this for about a year now and today I decided that I was going to blog about it.
Maybe there’s someone out there in cyber-land who will find this interesting! If you do, leave me a message.