Downsizing Your Life Without Losing Your Mind

A Guide to Downsizing.pdfDownsizing your life should not mean you have to garage sale your mind or sacrifice your identity and sense of self.

When the day dawns that you need to leave your home to take up residence in a retirement community or other life care facility, you will face the challenge of how you will manage a lifetime of mementos, knickknacks, and personal possessions.

The difficulty is that each memento carries some of your favorite memories. The challenge is that, in the process of downsizing your life and culling through a lifetime of remembrance-laden objects, you may very well lose connection to the memories they represent, the stories they carry and weaken your sense of self, and impair your identity.

Before your move, whenever you looked at the things around you – you were able to recall clearly when and where you acquired them. Touching that object or sitting upon that old comfortable chair, you recall a lunch hour shared with a spouse, or good friend who is now far away or gone from your life altogether. You still remember the clothing you wore, what you talked about over lunch thirty, forty or more years ago.

It might be the case that a particular serving platter or special set of dishes was once a wedding gift from a beloved family member, a gift you have brought out at every family gathering since. Every time you place those dishes upon the table, you fondly remember each family gathering and every turkey served.

Looking back in time to family gatherings you remember younger children, older sisters and brothers, cousins, aunts and uncles, and although you may not have served from that platter or used those dishes in a good many years, you still hold onto them them and remember. With that serving platter in sight you can recall an earlier time when you were much younger, far slimmer, and had your future ahead of you. What do you do when you need to move to smaller quarters?

Unless and until you take the measures to process and preserve important memories and reorient you, when you awaken in your next residence you can expect to feel dislocated and uneasily disoriented. When the day arrives that your capacity to recall memories becomes problematic, those memories will be effectively lost.

If you are downsizing, or about to downsize your life plan for and take the time to take time to jot down and take a picture of the memory laden items you are giving away to a friend, a family member, or to Goodwill industries. Create an album that you can visit, revisit, or share with family, friends, and neighbors wherever you go.

Some disorientation is inevitable, but downsizing your life should not mean you have to garage sale your mind nor sacrifice your identity and sense of self.

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