Mark Twain

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Monday, May 30, 2016

Right sizing

I recently read the term "right sizing" in a blog post on Miss Minimalist.

Miss Minimalist hosts a weekly post featuring readers who are pursuing a minimalist life style.   Those posts very interesting as they allow you to peak into the lives of folks making big changes.    This Monday she hosted "Heather in Texas" who used the term "right sizing."

Yes!

That is what I am doing.  Getting things to a size that fits me!  What a great term.  It does not dictate a one-size-fits all style of living.

And in truth, I think it is what we all do in our lives.  Size it to fit our desires.

It got me thinking.  Why did it take so long to seek out my own personal right size?  Some of the writers on Miss Minimalist are in their 20s.  Amazing that they should be so independent of thought at such an early age to know what size life is right for them.



Not so with me.  I was very impressionable as a young adult.  Looking back my desires and goals were often formed from those around me.  I believe the biggest influence in my early 20s came from my future mother-in-law.

They say first impressions are the most lasting.  Certainly it was so with her.  Her small two bedroom apartment looked like a gift shop. Decorative objects filled every flat surface and wall.  Weekends were spent keeping artful displays dusted, polished and organized. Yearly, she would hand wash all the walls and ceilings, and every year she would get down on her knees and scrape off all the weekly layers of "Wash and Glow" (one step wash and wax solution) from all the floors with a paint scraper.  She would then apply a new layer of "Wash and Glow" to her floors and the cycle would begin again.    During this time she would rearrange all her furniture and decorations.  Her drawers and closets were perfection.  Nothing gave her greater joy than having someone comment on what a lovely home she had.  In hindsight, sadly, it is evident that her home reflected her worth in her eyes.

In those first years, I admired all that.  Coming from a lower middle class family that did not have any disposable income, her apartment and style of living made a big impression on me.  My dysfunctional family was the opposite of everything she was.  I didn't see the negative life experiences and disappointments that lead her to such a controlled way of living.  I wanted to "right size" my life to reflect what I saw in her.  And in many ways I did.

I came to understand, however, that her obsessive focus was on objects - not people.  Objects didn't disappoint - and people did.  As she aged her social contacts became limited.  Her "friends" were her hairdresser, the grocery store checker, the taxi cab driver.  Now I know that those folks could easily be discarded if they disappointed.   She had right sized her life to one narrow little path to minimize disappointment.

Those early influences lingered on in me for years and years.  Eventually I learned to love and accept this woman for who she was while growing to understand that her "right size" was not right for me.  She was a wonderful grandmother to my children.  She died almost 20 years ago and I miss her to this day.  But her life style influence has almost totally faded from my radar.  It took about 40 years, but my own style is evolving in an entirely different direction.


Right sizing my life kicked into high gear when mom died.  I am reaching what is good for me.  The size of our house may continue to be too big, but the contents are reaching a level that is manageable and comfortable.

6 comments:

  1. I came across your post and found it interesting. I've been so busy downsizing my house I don't think I stopped to think about downsizing my life for a better fit. Twelve years ago we retired and moved from Texas to Oregon. I've become the queen of decluttering. 'Stuff' no longer appeals to me. Interesting how we change as we age.

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    1. You are so right. It is like some wort of switch in my head got flipped.

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  2. I love that term 'right size'. I need to work on finding the right size for me.

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    1. I love that term right size as well. It takes the external judgement out of it - so that each person no matter what path they follow - finds what works for them. Although I support downsizing and minimizing personal belongings, at times it seems like people are competing for the title of the King or Queen of Less. Like having less than someone else is the pinnacle of right. When I heard the term right sizing I really felt very at home with it.

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  3. I found my right size for a brief time a few whiles ago. But then life seems to leave its trash wherever and whenever it fancies. For now, I've learned to kick the debris aside and out of my path.

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    1. I have struggled with consistency in keeping things simple as well. For me it has gotten a little easier because it is slowly becoming 'habit.' It isn't just a project to be completed and then on to the next thing. Now it seems to be part of my thinking generally.

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