Over the course of a lifetime, we all experience a significant amount of change. Some of these changes—such as marriage, births, and new jobs—are generally positive. Other major life transitions—such as becoming empty nesters, moving, or retiring—can cause a significant amount of stress. Tim and Deborah’s transition into retirement and rightsizing is still in process, but together, we dreamed and moved forward to realize what we wanted from retirement. Dreams do come true!
My biggest fear retiring was that next year, or in three or five years, I would be in the same place, doing the same things as the day I retired. Instead, with Deborah, we chose to let our dreams become our reality. It didn’t take any extra money. It just took a monumental, sometimes painful, and very emotional effort. Together, we made a major realignment and rightsized of our assets and lifestyle.
Living the Dream
We knew what we wanted our life to be. For years, we talked and dreamed two things. One, we wanted to live in a small, uncluttered condo in a high-rise with a view. That view became a reality last March and has proven to be inspirational on a daily basis. Second, we wanted a motorhome so we could travel and explore. For two years now, we have spent summers in our motorhome, BAM, freely moving where we want to go and exploring what we want to see.
That Was Then…
Deborah and I were living the life we had dreamed as we worked and raised our family. We collected everything we wanted: a big house, a second home, cars, art, furniture, all kinds of collections, and generally, a lot of stuff. We worked hard and rewarded our efforts by buying things, thus rewarding and providing gratification to ourselves. But suddenly, our life was changing. Consequently, the life we dreamed of also changed. Our values had changed.
This Is Now…
Now, we dreamed about freedom, without anchors. And in order to recognize that freedom, we needed to eliminate the anchors. The long, slow process of getting rid of “stuff” began. It might have been much easier to just enjoy the house we had built and the stuff we had collected. Our parents had taught us that. Their parents had taught them that.
Our stuff included some of our parents’ stuff. We even had some of our grandparents’ stuff that had been passed down. One of our first “a-ha” moments came when we realized, without a doubt, that the next generation wasn’t going to want any of this stuff.
And we didn’t want to burden them to ultimately get rid of our stuff. That was our chore.
Keep, Sell, Donate, Toss
It was easy, at first, getting rid of the trivial stuff. But as we progressed through the process, we encountered our first obstacle, the “I’m not quite ready to get rid of this yet” category. I think setting those things aside and then revisiting them allowed us to emotionally prepare for their disposition. As we continued to get rid of these items, it gave us additional momentum.
Next, we we were faced with the items we had been gifted. The treasures that had been collected and handed down for one or two generations.
Then we had to face the expensive stuff that we had bought. Things we thought we were going to keep for life. There is just no place for a Gustav Stickley Craftsman dining table that seats 12 in a small condo. Great items, so useful, and so good for someone. Somehow, I want to think that most everything found a good home.
Ultimately, there were the collections. Things we sought to expand, to be enjoyed, and ultimately thought were going to have a “return on investment.” Then we realized that no one is collecting these items anymore! Where are “The American Pickers” when you need them?
Downsized to Rightsizing
The bottom line was that, after three years of tossing, selling, donating, connecting with, and giving to as many needy people as we could find, we moved, uncluttered, into a 1,500-square-foot condo and a 350-square-foot motorhome.
We even moved out and closed the contract on our rented storeroom. I thought that payment would be forever.
We now live the life we dream. The anchors have been eliminated. By rightsizing, we have our freedom. It is our time to explore, discover, and grow.
Two Medicine Lake, Glacier National Park
Recognizing the Rewards
The downsizing experience was painful, but today our life is inspirational. We live uncluttered. I get up in the morning to watch, from our perch, the light magically change by the minute. Occasional daytime storms provide contrasting points of view, and the sunsets are magical and majestic.
Deborah is now referring to the times I get up in the middle of the night as “Tinkle and Twinkle Time,” as I always take a moment to view the city lights from our balcony windows.
In BAM, I like to say we drift around. Each year, our exploration has expanded. We continue to discover new and wonderful places while revisiting and marveling again at our old favorites.
Risk Blossoming is about living the life that you have dreamed, purposefully and intentionally making progress each day to get closer and closer to your ultimate dream. If you allow yourself to become complacent and satisfied with the status quo, you will never recognize your dream.
To truly live the life of your dreams, you must clearly vision your dream and then begin to declutter your life with the things, people, and attachments that are not part of that dream.
Closing the doors on those “things” will free up your time and resources and provide you the freedom and ability to continue the journey toward your ultimate destination.
Live the Life That you Dream