In October, we featured a thoughtful piece by Bryce Dixon on the necessity of careful planning when embarking on a downsizing endeavor. The process can definitely be arduous and exhausting, but as reader Kathy Megyeri proves in her response piece below, downsizing is not without some major rewards – the best of which may be the feeling that friendship and connection top materialism anyday. – Editor
I am such a pack rat that even after undergoing cataract surgery and no longer needing glasses, I still hold on to my beloved glass frames from the ‘60’s (see below). But a dear friend who recently moved into a Cypress Cove retirement facility in Ft. Myers took me aside and warned, “Kathy, while you are still physically able, still have your wits, and are under no immediate time constraints, take an hour each day to go through a box, a closet, or a drawer and purge! If you do nothing and God forbid, something happens to you, your husband will throw it all in a dumpster, and what you considered part of your life, your image, and your memories will be forever lost.”
So I listened, and admittedly, it is the hardest job I have ever undertaken but I recently took three truckloads of decorations, dolls, stuffed animals, and toys to the West Virginia Children’s Hospital where I witnessed the joy of seeing a smiling child hold a Boyd’s bear following his surgery and that made my task easier. I then took toiletries, lotions, cosmetics and perfumes to a local women’s shelter and the admitting counselor was thrilled to distribute them. I took books, sweaters, blankets, and comforters to the local nursing home and when I was leaving, a volunteer had already chosen a story to read at activity hour from CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE AGING SOUL.
I also took old towels, sheets and bedding to the local SPCA and animal shelter that were so grateful to receive linings for cages and towels that could dry newly shampooed cats and dogs. I delivered glassware, dishes, clothes, and silver wear to the local hospital’s gift shop where proceeds help the infirm to enjoy music that a harpist plays for those acutely ill. Granted that the purging will probably continue for months to come, but the process has been made somewhat easier when others benefit. And although my old glass frames could have been sold on EBay or to an antiques dealer, I learned that the nearby Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center reads the prescription strength of lenses with a lensometer machine to support people with eyesight challenges all because Helen Keller challenged the Lions Club in 1925 to become “knights of the blind in a crusade against darkness.” Thus, downsizing can become truly rewarding, when good friends help me take the plunge to purge, and new friends – some known and some unknown – but friends all the same.