Downsizing being one of those proverbial “first world problems.”

Tom Brezsny
- Tom Brezsny

Downsizing being one of those proverbial “first world problems.”

Continuing the series of columns following Richard and Rachel, a local Santa Cruz couple who’ve been sharing some of the trials and tribulations of their own downsizing process. If you want to share your own insights, call me at 831-818- 1431 or email [email protected]

Tom: Richard you were talking about downsizing being one of those proverbial “first world problems.”

Richard: We are fortunate. We actually do have quite a few choices about how to live the last third of our lives. Sometimes people lose sight of that. They get tangled up trying to decide which scenario is going to be the most perfect for them. They end up being miserable and doing nothing because they can’t decide. 

Rachel: People should realize that having choices is a luxury. Like they’ve always done in life, they just need to hitch up their big-boy or big-girl pants and move forward knowing that getting what you want also means giving something up.

Richard: As people get older they fear losing control. But isn’t loss of control really about not having any choices? The classic scenario is when people put off making changes they really know they should make until one day it’s too late. They fall and break a hip and suddenly there are no choices anymore.

Rachel: People with choices should understand how lucky they are. Be thankful rather than worrying or always seeing the glass as half-full. Too many choices is a great problem to have. The rest is just emotional laziness. Call it fear of change or inertia. When you do nothing you often end up creating the exact thing that you were so fearful of in the beginning. 

Richard: We can’t stress that enough. Choose your change while you still have a chance to enjoy the benefits of it. Do it proactively. Be prepared to give up some comforts in exchange for a better overall quality of life. Don’t be afraid to spend some of that money you spent a lifetime accumulating. Don’t kick the can down the road until the bitter end.

Rachel: Here’s what I know: They aren’t going to bury you with your money or with all the stuff you can’t seem to get rid of. And God knows it’s not fair to leave it all for your children to take care of. Downsizing is about assuming responsibility for your own life and not shifting the burden to others. That’s how we’ve always lived and will continue to live until we can’t. 

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