Downsizing – Nine Pairs of Black Pants
In the early eighties, my husband and two young sons moved to the beautiful 4 bedroom house in the suburbs with a large yard. We bought a Range Rover and remodeled, remodeled and lived happily as a family.
Those of you who know me have heard this story often but it was a life changing moment. My life seemed perfect and I couldn’t imagine wishing it were any different. But one day I was watching the newly retired neighbor across the way, and I realized he was mowing his yard every other day. Their children were gone they still lived in this big home and he was maniacally just doing more of the same things he had always done.
Obviously, I don’t know what was going on inside that house. Maybe they had their parents move in. Maybe they were learning new languages or taking exotic cooking classes. Perhaps retirement meant all sorts of fun and new adventures to them.
But on the outside, it didn’t look that way and suddenly I was deeply concerned that I, too, would see my children go off to college and we would just keep doing what we always did, without the pleasure of having kids at home. Landscaping, wall paper, new furniture, countertops, and sure, entertaining and having beautiful holiday parties. But I realized I had an obsession with ‘nesting’, which also happened to involve a massive amount of consumption. And I’m not the kind of person who makes bookshelves out of old pallets. Wish I were.
The boys were still in high school but my husband and I started to think about where we might live when they moved out. Could we downsize and live in a condo? What did that look like? What about when the boys came home? Why did it suddenly seem that all this activity wasn’t really that important?
I’m pretty sure my husband loved the idea of getting some of his life back; he happens to be able to do almost anything so the project list was endless.
There was no going back. I had 9 pairs of black pants. And I still do.