Moving is not just exhausting physically; it’s emotionally draining too. All that rummaging through old photos as you sort what to dispose of, what to keep. A very old picture of me with two tots in the old wicker stroller, another walking alongside, the newspaper clipping about my middle-aged son when he was the star pitcher of the Babe Ruth League, the shot of our family camping in Canada when the spaghetti sauce froze in mid-air as I was ladling it onto the pasta after we pitched our tent by a raging stream.

I have only been in this latest house for eleven years but how did I accumulate so much? Of course, I had brought most of this stuff with me when I moved here after retiring. I never thought of myself as a pack rat, but at this point I must plead guilty as charged. And I’m finding out that for the most part, my adult children don’t want to inherit any of these treasures. Not their grandmother’s pitcher collection, the first set of China I had as a bride, my knick knack collection of dog figurines or my assortment of Wild West and Native American sculptures. Why the heck did I collect all those cookbooks? I don’t even like to cook. And what possessed me to amass such a large collection of shot glasses? I don’t even drink hard liquor. Will I be wracked with guilt if I dispose of all those ashes in a box of urns down cellar that hold the remains of every pet we have owned who has gone to dog or cat heaven? Will I ever again don those old Halloween costumes I used to wear to scare little kids when they came trick-or-treating?

All this gut-wrenching emotion must be about life’s inevitable changes. A woman living on her own does not need this big old house. I only have lots of house guests when it’s summertime and the nearby beaches attract my relatives at least as much as my company. Since my Scotch-Irish ancestry makes me prone to skin cancer and I detest dipping my pale white body into the icy Atlantic water, I’m no longer a beach person. It’s time to downsize to a cozy apartment where I won’t have to worry about faucet repairs or pay some nice young man to mow the lawn or shovel me out in the winter — if I can get him to show up.

Am I downsizing my life too? Is this the last move I will make? Probably, unless those aforementioned grown kids of mine make good on their threats (in jest, I think) about putting me in The Home…

Anyway, save me those old newspapers and cardboard boxes. It’s time to get back to packing.

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