If you were born anywhere from about 1946-1964, you are a “baby-boomer’ and we have changed the country. We are the children of the Depression era and World War II generation. Our memories are stories of hard times and separation, but we grew up and lived in a time of great affluence. Life was good.
We graduated high school in the sixties and were on to bigger and better things until the Vietnam War hit our consciousness. I remember sitting in my dorm room at college when the draft was reinstituted and hearing girls crying as their boyfriends’ birthdays were given a draft number. It was a tumultuous time to live in.
But we moved on into adulthood, marrying, getting jobs, raising kids.
Now we are into a new life. For my birth partners, (1948) this is the year we turn 70. As Linus said to Charlie Brown when his dad turned 30, “Do people really live that long?” We are at the biblical threescore and ten.
Where class reunions once revolved around the kids, moving to advance in your job, dealing with divorces and lay offs, now the subjects are kids that are married and there are grandchildren and people are relocating to be closer to grandchildren, or going to where there is no shoveling snow, or closer to airports and doctors. We are retired and seeking out experiences which define our passions (as were our counterparts in the 60s, we are still ‘trying to find ourselves.’). Discussing surgeries and physical conditions (my knees, hip replacement, heart bypasses, cancer) we also remember classmates who have died. Some of us have great-grandchildren. Who would have thought.
Now the dilemma is down-sizing, but there are magazine articles about warehouses full of beautiful furniture, fine china and glassware. The kids don’t want that ‘old stuff’, so what to do. In our immediate futures are smaller homes, less square footage, somewhere people do the lawns and shovel the snow for us and we don’t have to step around the stuff we have accumulated. Either we’ve done it, are doing it, or just looking at the full basement and closets and muttering, “I’ll leave that for the kids to do.”
The accumulation of ‘stuff’ takes half your life. It fulfills the ‘wants’ side of our character. We ‘want’ it, we buy it. Then, like any child we get tired of it and it goes into a storage bin in the basement where it sits until down-sizing begins. I have been down-sizing for the past four years — after retirement. I have literally touched everything I own. A younger friend has helped me with Dawson County New and Used on Facebook, then of course there is The Attic, and the Used Furniture Room at our church, and the city landfill. It is quite an eye-opening process and what I feel is healthy and liberated. I am down-sizing living quarters as well.
I am surprised at the emotional response these things elicit. Gifts that were given at various times in my life as well as events I remember. Parents, relatives and friends that have died are called to mind. Right now I have stopped for awhile. The next stage will be to dig deeper. Every time I carry something out to the car it is a good feeling. If you have children you can leave it all to them, but from what I hear they don’t want to deal with it either. I don’t have children, but I am stubborn enough that I want to take care of my own stuff and I am getting there. Another load goes out today!