A Lifetime of Stuff
Things. Our lives are full of them. Just ask my wife about my out-of-control board game collection. There’s an entire forest worth of cardboard in my front room alone. Heaven help me if the Ents ever come back for revenge. As much as I love all things material, you can’t take it with you. That’s a lie. Egypt built an entire tourism industry on the premise that you can be buried with pretty much anything you want. In practical terms, however, those things won’t do you much good. Either there is an afterlife and you won’t need worldly possessions because you’ll be enjoying/enduring eternal ecstasy/torture, or there’s nothing, and you’ll just be a decaying body surrounded by a lot of cool trinkets. At that point, who would you be trying to impress? The archaeologist who digs you up in a thousand years? To be fair, there’s never a bad time to make a good first impression. When a future Indiana Jones-wannabe shows up to steal all my cursed grave jewelry, I want his first thought to be, “That’s a pretty fly corpse.”
You don’t have to die to downsize, or so Lola tells me. In fact, not downsizing could kill you. Her greatest fear is being buried alive in a pile of wooden meeples. For those of you not familiar with that word, those are the generic worker pieces in strategy board games. Also, congratulations on having a life. Realistically, we won’t be able to declutter in any meaningful way until our kids move out. Then I can relocate to a much smaller house that’s equally packed with board games. I’ll have more room because Lola will leave me. The divorce papers will tell me exactly where I can stick those meeples. We’re going through the downsizing process right now with Lola’s grandfather, Eli. He recently relocated from his house to a nursing home in a process that hasn’t been easy for anyone. He’s been the family patriarch and host/entertainer for the last sixty years, and it’s not a role we wanted to see him relinquish. When you visited him, you could be assured that you’d be going out to eat for every meal and that he’d pay, regardless of the group’s size. He was the best at spoiling kids, grandkids, and, lately, great grandkids. When we visited him a few years ago, he entertained all four of my children with more energy in his eighties than I could muster in my thirties. The secret to staying young at heart is being a fundamentally good person. No wonder I’m a million years old.
Unfortunately, time marches on. It recently became clear that he couldn’t safely live on his own anymore.
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