Circling back to the subject of downsizing

Tom Brezsny
- Tom Brezsny

Circling back to the subject of downsizing

Circling back to the subject of downsizing... That vague, catch-all term we use to describe the strange place many people find themselves in these days, as card-carrying (social security) members of a rapidly aging culture.  

Most sellers in Santa Cruz are people of a certain age. There’s an even larger wave of would-be-sellers-of-a-certain-age waiting in the wings. Those are the folks who are still wrestling with existential questions about the last third of their lives and trying to trick themselves into  beginning to think about the possibility of getting on with the future”.

Nominally, downsizing is about moving from a larger home to a smaller one after the kids leave and retirement beckons. Sounds like a normal part of the journey right?  Exactly what people work all their lives for right?  Then why is it so hard? And why are so many feeling so stuck?

Therein lies the mystery and the key to the release of all that nascent inventory that’s piling up, waiting for more folks to figure out what they somehow always assumed they’d know by the time they got here.  The more stories I hear,  the more I’m convinced people need better strategies for outsmarting themselves and questioning their own belief systems.  

Downsizing is the paradigm shift that tests all our long-held assumptions about success, comfort and the desirability of stuff.  Whatever your life is like today – it’s a habit.  Good or bad. Healthy or unhealthy.  Right-sized or not.  It’s a series of ingrained routines and rituals that have grown together over time to support and perpetuate each other. That’s our nature. We’re always seeking the illusion of control.  That habit is tough to break. 

Here’s a collection of common phrases I’ve picked up over the years while helping folks work through downsizing.  Maybe one of them will encourage you to hack into your own process a little more.  

There’s:  “I’m glad we did all that traveling when we did.” And: “I’ll never be younger than I am today.”  And then of course:  “You can’t ever get enough of what you don’t need”.  And everyone’s favorite: “I saved all that stuff for my kids but none of them want it now.” 

And then:  “Will I have more energy and resources in five or ten years than I have now?” The ever-popular:  When you decide not to make a change, you are making a choice.”  And:  “If you don’t choose to change, eventually life will make the choice for you.”

And finally, accompanied by the all-encompassing sigh I’ve heard on many occasions:  “Who knew?” 

More Next Week…

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