Upscaling Life - by Downsizing
Upscaling life - by downsizing.
Outliving, outgrowing that container can be a real struggle. Think about those plants you’ve had for years...
In general, we plant the plants we want around for awhile in a container that it can grow into. We watch it grow for years, and then - when that plant isn't functioning and flourishing as it once did, we begin to realize that the container doesn’t work anymore, like it used to. It could outgrow the container - or we might need to prune it and start new plants, in new containers. Something about the new container, the fresh dirt and new surroundings - the plant is, once again, flourishing.
We tend to know when we are flourishing, and when we are not.
The key is admitting it to ourselves.
Flourishing means that life is growing - life is good - all is well with our surroundings and situation. Yet, there comes a time when we can begin to become uneasy with our “container”. The home just doesn’t fit quite the way it used to.
Now, this doesn’t begin with an “empty nest” necessarily - although it could. Sometimes, it’s long after the children have grown and gone, and established their own lives, and they just don’t hang out at the ol’ homestead the way they used to. Due to work or family obligations, they don’t have the time to be around, like before. The home feels a bit cavernous - and begins to loom as a bigger chore to clean and maintain. The stuff we accumulate through years and decades of growth are overgrown - like that beautiful ivy that takes over, if you let it.
The unsettled feelings can also begin with a situation or circumstance, not planned on. An illness occurs, a death of a loved one, a divorce, or even a loss of income can precipitate the need for a change. Fact is, we aren’t always emotionally ready for it - even if we have a sense that life could be better in a different environment. And, as all good normal humans do, we just stuff the uneasiness and hope the unsettledness will go away. But, it doesn’t - and in some instances the feelings cause more fretfulness. It’s just too much. Too much to handle, to maintain - and too empty to enjoy, as we did before.
And that emptiness is tough.
It’s not fun - nor easy - to face a change. Especially if the home has been perfect, for oh-so-many-years, and contains a universe of memories. Let’s just be honest. It can be sad - very sad. However, on the other side, it can also bring freedom, relief and gladness - when we see a glimpse of life beyond the container we’ve outlived.
Upscaling our life.
Some of the hardest pivot points of advancing in life are those decisions around why, when, where, and how to downsize. Who wants to dig up roots and replant when the "family home tree" has fared so well where it was planted?
So many considerations enter the mix of variables. And just like any major life decision, it’s best to be candid with yourself, and your family, about the pros and cons. This list - developed with your spouse or a best friend - could provide tremendous insight. But the best TIP to start with, is the timing. The advantages to downsizing by choice, early on, are huge. Don’t wait until it’s too late, where choices have to be made for you.
NOTE: This conversation with your children could turn sour, so save that for when you’re already down the pike a-ways (as we say). In other words, give this plenty of thought, and talk with peers, first. While there are always exceptions, in general, our grown children don’t always understand or relate to the process we are going through when advancing in life.
I had my own first “downsize” event over 10 years ago, when we sold the family home through divorce. So, personally, I went through many of the emotions of purging at that point. It served well to enable my ability to see the advantages of doing so, earlier than most. There have been several friends who have also chosen to upscale their life by downsizing, and through combined insight, I developed a guide (pdf) to support the downsizing effort. Let me know if it’s insightful for you. It includes preparation guidelines, pros and cons, and some helpful tips.
Leave comments below - share your thoughts, your experience, your ideas.
Until next time...