Journeys

I was delayed at the airport and grabbed a magazine with beautiful, happy people on the cover. Flipping through the glossy pages, I found an article about a couple who had decided to downsize from their 4,000 square foot home to a 1,800 square foot condo.

The focus of the article? The couple’s decision to hire a “decorator/therapist” to assist them with the difficult transition of parting with superfluous possessions while creating a new space that reflects their new, relatively unencumbered selves. The therapist spoke in gentle and nurturing tones of the simultaneous mourning and liberation that comes with letting go of so much that one has accumulated in a lifetime.

On this trip, I’d see a family member who  would also likely be facing challenging transitions. Last summer, she finally fulfilled a dream and completed an advanced degree that was a very long time coming. She told herself that all that was promised to those who accomplish such things could now be hers. She bought a new house, just beyond her means, hopeful that the old house would soon sell.

And it has not. And for complicated reasons, must now be pulled off the market. She stands at the brink of losing a great deal, at the point of reaching that excruciating moment when she’d believed that things would all come together for her, finally.

The couple who brought (bought) someone into their lives to ease them through the angst of disentanglement? Some things, they came to realize, could easily be cast aside. Since they now spend most holidays abroad, they decided, they no longer need the china, the crystal, the linens for the scores of guests that they once entertained.

And the woman in my family? There’s no nurturing therapist in sight, and she thinks that she’s convinced us all she’s just fine.

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