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May 17, 2010

We were visiting with some friends over the weekend and got on the topic of retirement — specifically, “what’s next”? for us. Their children are out of the house now, but they haven’t quite determined what the next chapter of their lives will be — much like myself.

Although we still have two kids at home, there’s a clear sense that, after 25 years of motherhood, I’m on the home stretch when it comes to child-raising. They are moving away from childhood faster than I can determine what’s next for me. For us.

Thankfully, my husband and I still like each other after spending almost two decades together in the parenting arena. We’ve always made time for our relationship, so I have every confidence that I won’t completely lose it when the last of our four children pulls away in a U-Haul. We will still have each other, right?

We’ve talked about “what’s next,” even though it’s still years away. We both agree that we want to downsize our life and travel more. We’ve talked about living in a shack on the beach (where I truly believe a writer and her muse can become one!), and we’ve talked about living in Italy. I am perfectly fine with serving wine in a short skirt and black stockings — if they’ll let me….

It’s tough — deciding what’s next. That much we definitely agree on. What if there are grandkids? Will we want to be far away?

And then, last night, I said, “We have everything, but we don’t NEED it. We could sell most of our belongings and live in an apartment over a pizza joint in Italy. No problemo.”

My husband agrees. We have a lot of stuff. Two couches (one up, one down), 4 or 5 TVs, desks, chairs (oh so many chairs), dining room suite, kitchen suite, and more bedrooms filled with more stuff than we dreamed we would ever have. “I would just want the living room couch, and the red leather chairs. One TV. My dining room set. I’d sell our bedroom furniture – hate it anyway,” I say. “We would keep our laptops, and that’s about it.”

Then I remember, “Oh, and of course my desk. My writing desk would have to come with us.”

My husband says, “And the clock table and new red chairs in your office.”

Ah, yes, I think. “And of course, my books!”

He sighs. “Definitely. But maybe those could go in storage.” I have over 300 books, so…

And it got me thinking about “stuff,” and how I talk about how little it matters to me, but if I’ve ever asked “If you have to leave with one possession….” I don’t know what I would choose! I never thought of myself as “that person” — the one who was defined by possessions, so I’m a little startled at this revelation of my personal character.

My thoughts are that when the time comes, I’ll know what to take and what to leave behind. This is my life now; for now, but that will change — soon. Change is the only thing that’s guaranteed. And it’s kind of exciting to think that my “part two” is still undefined.

I’m reminded of something my aunt told me many years ago. She said, “No matter where you go…there you are.” And maybe that’s it. As long as I bring “me,” all will be well.

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 18, 2010 2:17 am

    You are just at the beginning of shedding your unwanted feathers….it becomes more of a project with each five year interval, and I know you will find the perfect place to live your life as a writer of stellar work. I know it.

    BTW….check your bookcase list and add a “u” to Maya Angelou’s name and add my book to your list….I Know You Love It by Heart!


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