Part Two: Navigating Aging with Dubious Advice by an Island Crone

Quite a few years ago, around the time I turned seventy, I began reading articles on getting old and on downsizing. The idea being you should downsize before it was ‘too late’. In other words, while you still had all your marbles.

The un-tended garden

We were already living in a small bungalow, but moving into a smaller home or modular home, with no grass to mow or gardens to tend, suddenly seemed the way to go. At least for me. I did most of the gardening.

It took a bit of convincing to get Grant on board. I quoted stats from Senior magazines and he was willing to at least look.

Dubious advice #2: Take a stand, be proactive.

While driving around a mobile home park up island, looking at the units for sale, we spotted a friendly looking woman walking across the road carrying a half full bottle of red wine. When we asked her about the park, she became animated, telling us how much she liked it and how hard it was initially to get rid of her things in order to downsize. “But it became easy. After all, it is just stuff,” she stated, as she waved the wine bottle in the air. “We got rid of everything when we moved here and never looked back.”

Grant celebrating with wine!
Grant enjoying a glass of white!

A neighbour joined her, clutching her survival pack of Benson and Hedges and a bottle of white. “It’s happy hour” she said, flicking a finger on her wine. “We’re off to visit a friend up the road.”

We asked them about the mobile home for sale further up the hill with the magnificent view of Nanaimo harbour.

“Don’t know anything about that one,” the red wine toting woman answered. “We keep to ourselves down here, have a good little community, summer barbecues in the middle of the street, everyone comes bringing their food and chairs. Never talk to the people up the hill. It’s nice, quiet down here with all the trees. We like it.”

Dubious advice #3: Drink wine- or not- but have fun.

We thanked them both and drove around the mobile home park and up the hill again to look at the unit with the kick-ass view and low price. “If we could bring in a new park model and put it in this site I could live here but that would become awfully expensive and not worth it,” I mused. Grant agreed.

We were still undecided as to what to do and as our needs weren’t pressing and as we hadn’t found anything that really spoke to us, it was easier to do nothing. Doing nothing was a decision but then as we were driving around in our free time looking at real estate, we hadn’t committed to doing nothing either. One thing we did had reinforced in this process is that one has to get rid of ‘stuff’.

My office with ‘stuff’.

Everyone we talked to had a story of getting rid of their possessions.

Another woman in a different mobile home park, told us of living in a four- bedroom house, her husband having a debilitating accident and having to downsize to a one level mobile home. She dumped everything she could on her children and had six garage sales before she was free of years of clutter. Free was the word she used to describe how she and her husband were living now.

“Getting rid of stuff was the best thing we ever did,” she said, “and it took my husband’s accident to motivate us.”

I don’t wish a drastic motivator but I do wish something would help me clarify this urge to move, to feel free. I continue to de-clutter, rid myself of stuff and we continue to pour over real estate. Perhaps when I am free of stuff I will feel free to be living in harmony with my surroundings and my self.

Dubious advice #4: Get rid of stuff.

Still more dubious pieces of advice, part three and final, coming next post.

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Crone: a derogatory term for an old woman, a hag? Or the word for a woman of an older age who is revered for her wisdom, compassion and healing laughter? And a woman who embraces the ancient crone archetype with her age accumulated knowledge, her insights and intuitions, a woman who has found her power. An Island Crone. A sometimes-witchy island crone!



10 thoughts on “Part Two: Navigating Aging with Dubious Advice by an Island Crone

  1. You have reminded me to think about all the “stuff” we have accumulated in the last thirty years living where we are.
    I now have a headache!

    • Thanks Dave, I hear you. We’ve only been here 20 years and I have way to many never-used things. Grant constantly gets rid of clothes and books and tools which drives me crazy…what if we need it later? But think of our kids, nearly senior citizens, and they won’t want our stuff…I guess its time….good hearing from you and thanks for following my blog…good to keep in touch old classmate…best Liz

  2. As one who has downsized, and downsized, and downsized with each move over the past 15 years, I can state that it gets easier every time! The last one, from 1120 sq ft to 670 sq ft, was perhaps the biggest challenge in that I was losing that spare room/office I have always had, but I have made it work and continue to take things to the thrift store every couple of months as I find myself looking at items I kept and saying “Why? Why am I keeping that? Do I still need it?”
    Two factors other than space limitations motivated me: (1) I don’t want my only child and my brother to have to deal with ‘stuff’ that I kept because I might someday use it (like seldom used kitchen stuff – if I really, really need it someday, I’ll find one at a thrift store or borrow one from a friend), or I kept for sentimental reasons but won’t be anything my family would want; (2) It is so liberating! – less to clean, less to trip over, more room space and openness, more free time, more space in the cupboards and on the shelves, easier to reach what I do need, less hunting for things in boxes or drawers full of clutter…….less stress, more relaxation. Nearly everything I have now is used fairly regularly except for a very few ‘sentimental’ items which I truly love and bring me great joy/comfort – four or five ornaments, a couple of shelves of special books, a couple of stuffed animals. My winter project is to finish the last big job – drastically downsizing and organizing more than a dozen photo albums and two rubbermaid containers of photos and paper memorabilia.

    • Jean you always make such good sense…I need to follow your path…I need to feel free instead of carrying this weight..I recently bought a nutmeg grinder and a garlic roaster and a garlic peeler…have i used them? no..will I? likely not because i have lost interest in cooking…so for all the decluttering I have done, I have brought in an equal amount of useless stuff!!! Come and stay with me for a month and de clutter me…LOL You have inspired me though…thanks for your comments, Liz

  3. Your words sent me spiralling down a rabbit hole of second thoughts, new ideas, possibilities, questioning, resentment, acceptance, and ultimately – inspiration.

    • Oh Sylvia, i want to discuss this with you..I am curious, resentment? second thoughts? possibilities…possibilities are exciting..we need more conversation around this…happy if i have offered inspiration…but you are looking at someone who talks the walk, not walks the talk..but I try…thanks Liz

  4. Hi Liz, it was a pleasure to read a crones’ musings and reflections.
    The photos , I think, are beautiful
    . A little glimpse of your corner of the world, a little peek at your garden aesthetic, a hint at the literary mind behind this writing , and my favorite: the one and only handsome Paw allowing a photo to be taken.
    But, what Noel wants to know is “did you ever go clear?”
    Looking forward to next instalment. Love that it comes to my mailbox . Don’t want to go to FB.
    Thank you and keep having fun!

    • but did you like your dad’s photo…he who doesn’t want his picture taken…that one was fun, doing the photos is fun..thanks for Liz

  5. Oh my. I’ve read about doing it. Thought about the process and appreciate the value of doing it. Don’t want to burden my daughter with it after I die. BUT I have always the same response, “I don’t feel like it. I don’t want to expend the emotional energy to make ALL those decisions.” I wonder if a gentle loving person’s company would make it possible? Someone who will listen to every story that is held in each thing? Hmm, gosh perhaps I could write a little story and take a picture of each item before I let it go. Maybe. It’s a thought. Maybe tomorrow. Thank you, Liz. Your every post inspires me. Every reply delights and inspires me too. Deep gratitude!

    • Ah Lou, thank you again for your gentle words…yes in an ideal life we could find someone to listen as we tell stories about our silver teething ring, but we would probably put them to sleep. Writing stories and taking photos of each precious thing is good. I have lovely things that belonged to my grandmothers and great grands and perhaps great great, so does my sister..the real value in them to me is the person they belonged to but do my children have the same attachment? Likely what do we do with them? Enjoy them while we can…Liz

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