So many years ago, it seems now, I had proposed writing a book with my sister about her encounters with seniors moving to smaller homes. She had powerful stories to tell about their values, or what they found was valuable in the long run. Things were not necessarily so valuable as they thought. The interesting thing about this proposal was that it predated Marie Kondo and even was at the beginning of the nascent Minimalism movement. But long story cut very very short, she was too busy even while she was ill to tell me the stories, so it never happened while she was alive. In her memory, I have outlined a book that will express these stories without the stories. I will write the stories that I have gathered from others, my father, my father-in-law, and those who are not even so senior. From everyone whose story I can make valuable.
But mostly here, I will write about my own story. For, as I realize, this process of making aliyah is one of clarifying values. What are the things that not bring me joy but bring purpose? The difference is the value itself. Is the purpose of an item simply to remember someone who has passed on, or even someone from my past? Then that is a significant value; enough to warrant a good look before letting it go.
So then, how have I been determining what to let go of? For clothing, certainly, that has been pretty easy. For furniture? What will fit in a smaller place, even if we don’t have the place yet. How we plan on living and entertaining, so that means buying nicer outdoor furniture. With covers, I’ve been told, to keep them clean from the many cats of Israel. So, in a big way, letting go also means adding. Amazon, Brad’s Deals, Fed Ex, UPS, USPS, and my neighbors all know that. And our charge cards and bank, I should add.
We are determining how we want to be, as much as we have any control over it. (G-d, please don’t laugh too hard is my prayer.) I want to spend time outdoors, thus the patio furniture. I want to spend time bird-watching. Thus, the field scope. I want to spend time reading, and thus we take many of our books with us, even as we shed so so many.
And more to be said on the future plans, but for now, how to get rid of that which holds us back?
I have had a bit of luck selling things on OfferUp, a cool app/website. I’m getting the hang of taking the photos and posting the offers. It is quite interesting that I get the most money for the objects that have the least personal value. That’s a story right there. But I wanted to tell the story of one woman who came into our lives this way.
I got an offer for a futon that we were trying to unload. It’s served us well over many years, and has many stories that go along with the appearance of the futon in our lives, as well as the people who have used it over so so many years. We agreed on a price (basically, anything she would want to give us!) and a time, and she came over. ISHI was brought in to take the futon frame apart so that it would fit into her car. It became clear over the process of identifying the tools that she was a single mother, hoping that her brother would help her put it together. We were happy to get it into her car (the attached baby seat was the first signal that she had at least one little one; she added that she also had an older little boy, and that her parents would be pulled into helping put it together, since they were in town to attend the baby’s christening). She noticed that we had four wicker seat chairs on the curb, hoping for someone to pick them up, which made me eager to ask her if she was interested in taking them, too. They needed re-caning; did she know anyone who could help her do that? She was sure she must; could we put them back on the driveway for her to come back and get them? Of course! We were very happy for her to get more for her money. She said she would return the next night, which turned into the following day. She hesitated coming so late, which, of course, made us worry.
No worries. But yes, worries! That meant we were connected, even in this peculiarly un-continuing connection. And it gave me great joy to give the futon to her, albeit for money ($15!) and have a new home for the old kitchen chairs.
¿Qué es la vida? un frenesí,
¿qué es la vida?, una ilusión,
una sombra, una ficción,
y el mayor bien es pequeño;
qué toda la vida es sueño
y los sueños sueños son…”
Pedro Calderón de la Barca