I always admired the environmentalists who chained themselves to a tree to prevent it from being cut down, and fancied myself a free spirit who would be stifled by living in the same place too long. But now it has come time to downsize from our beautiful home of twenty-nine years — where we raised our beautiful children — and I’m not finding the change easy. Of course, I don’t ever find change easy. Necessary and growthful: yes. Something I look forward to: no. I have never given up anything – material or emotional– that doesn’t have my claw marks from holding on scratched into it.
I can’t see how we can fit my beloved carved armoire into our new, smaller house. And I keep getting this vivid image of bravely chaining myself to the armoire until the police come and saw the chain apart. Or maybe I could rent a U-Haul and just haul my armoire with me behind my car wherever I go. Of course, I wouldn’t be like the environmentalists too much because I would be fighting FOR materialism!
If you had asked me years ago if I was materialistic, I would have responded no, my eyes wide and innocent. In fact, when my late mother-in-law protested when we were moving her into assisted living that her things WERE her identity, I privately scoffed. But, as so often happens in my life, whenever I have negatively judged a person, I later find that same damn negative quality in myself. I wish that I had gently patted my mother-in-law’s shoulder and said that yes, I understood. Maybe if you live long enough and deep enough, you come to understand and “own” a bit of a dark shadow about almost everything. But I also think that if you live long enough and deep enough, you see more light inside of you and others than you did. I saw a photo of myself twenty years ago, many pounds lighter than I am now, and thought, ”Gosh, that woman is gorgeous.” But I didn’t see it at all at the time. Now, even though I am heavier, wear orthopaedic shoes, and have thinning hair, I sometimes catch myself in a mirror and am surprised at my beauty.
So if you want to send care packages to sustain a pitiful woman chained to her armoire, you know where to find me. But, just maybe..maybe just a little bit …I might be enjoying my new house!