Most of us fear change. It seems to be a very normal reaction to life. The irony is that change, like death and taxes, is inevitable. In fact, no matter what’s going on, we can count on the fact that something will change. People in our lives, jobs, our physical abilities, the seasons – come in and out of our experience as regularly as we take each breath. We resist change, but fear of the unknown can result in clinging to status quo behaviors – no matter how bad they are. In the long run, rather than resist change, we might be well advised to embrace it.
If I had not changed my diet last year, I would be suffering with debilitating arthritis pain, in addition to life-stopping fatigue. Was it easy? Heck no! I did not want to give up my favorite foods. I certainly did not want to start cooking more. But when I finally gave in to the change, the reward was far greater than the pain… literally, I no longer have pain in my hand and back. So when looking at change, it’s important to assess the pain/reward ratio. It’s also important to take your time with the changes you can control, even the lifestyle changes that will help you live longer, happier and healthier. Rather than big chunks of change, think of little bits of change. One step at a time wins the race.
When applying this to a major life change such as downsizing and moving to a new home, it’s important to delve into the pain and the reward and to take your time with it. The idea of going through EVERYTHING and choosing what to keep and what to toss (give away, donate or sell) can be daunting. But, and here’s where you have choice, you can see this differently. Choosing to think about it as a fun way to pass time is the first step. Under the right circumstances, it’s a trip down memory lane that will leave you with renewed memories and a sense of your life and loves.
Parting with things – a harbinger of change – can be empowering. I like to think that it’s time for someone else to enjoy this (fill in your own… jacket, set of dishes, furniture.) By itemizing everything you donate, you can be eligible for a significant tax deduction and the satisfaction of knowing that your things will be put to good use in the future by people who want and appreciate them. Like the artist, you need a clean canvas in order to create something new. Downsizing and removing the clutter accumulated over a lifetime creates space for new adventures and experiences.
Are you ready to live the rest of your life up to your eyeballs in the past, or are you ready to embrace a new future – one with the promise of new experiences, friends, learning and meaning? Be a Savvy Senior and embrace change, because change can bring a whole new adventure to this third act of life.