Monday, September 10, 2012

The Low Road’s the Right Road for Me (#6 of 11)

After working for sixty years, I am finally retiring, lured by visions of great chunks of free time in which to practice music, dabble in art, relax with needlework, and read everything I can hardly wait to read. I’ve been walking around the house singing the lyrics of a catchy song from the 40‘s by Jamie Cullum which go:
“Some like the high road, I like the low road,
Free from the care and strife.
Sounds corny and seedy, but yes, indeedy
Give me the simple life!”

That’s what I want. In The Simple Life, I would not be drowning in paper that pours from the mailbox, the front door, and the computer printer. There would be fewer phonecalls, e-mails, catalogues, and bills. I would have all I need and nothing extra. There would be  time to meditate, exercise, eat right, read, practice music, enjoy at least one more activity of my choice every day, nap, and still get the laundry and shopping done.

But Elaine St. James, in her book Living the Simple Life, recommends having only three or four ongoing goals at any time, to avoid self-sabotage by overwhelm. So I have narrowed it down to:

1. Exercising
2. Practicing music
3. Enjoying time with my husband.

I figure that meditation, socializing, reading, crossword puzzles, and laundry will fit into the spaces and not get overlooked. And in the Simple Life, I can cut myself some slack.

Now that I can see it manifesting right before me, all I have to do is finish the decluttering project I’ve begun, responsibly close my professional practice, and embrace what lies ahead. 

But another complication has arisen.

A couple of posts ago I wrote, “I’m seriously considering selling our cluttered house in exchange for a neat one.” I wasn’t kidding. Now Husband and I have decided to leave our home in New England and make our vacation in Florida our permanent lifestyle, instead. So I am paring down my life while simultaneously redefining it and also relocating it.

I’m giddy at the prospect of living in the sun by the sea, where it’s always Summer (by New England standards), with the wonderful new friends I’m making there. 

Have you ever noticed that when a room or a whole house is being cleaned and tidied, first there must be some disorder? As drawers and closets are emptied, and the step stool and cleaning supplies and equipment are added to the mix, the room or house can quickly resemble a disaster area for awhile. It seems that creating order requires first an increase in chaos. 

So my home has become a shambles of boxes and piles of dishes, mountains of clothes and books. The decision-making (keep? store? recycle?) is endless, and exhausting.

I can barely tolerate thinking about all the upcoming goodbyes and sad partings from family and old friends.

As I pursue my dream, The Simple Life, the burning question for me is, “How can I keep this simple?”

I'm wide open to ideas and especially encouragement.

(To be continued next week.)