Recently, I’ve been contemplating the idea of downsizing; with one child about to graduate from high school and set off to college, and with the other quickly moving through the ranks of middle school, sooner, rather than later, this house will be an empty nest. And, it’s too big – even now. Oh, it suited its purpose: we built this house to accommodate not only our family, but also friends and strangers alike who were in need of hospitality and accommodation – some for a short time, others for extended stays. But, as we and our children are aging and life is changing, so too are our own housing needs.
The prospect of putting this house on the market is a daunting one. It is filled to the gills. Truly. We have too much stuff. I will be able to part with much of the stuff without much drama; it’s the kind of stuff that finds its way to the basement or to the dark recesses of the closet – stuff that I haven’t seen, let alone used, in years. The other stuff, though, that’s going to be difficult to pare down.
But, pare down we must. For awhile, I held a real estate license, working with my father-in-law in his brokerage. So, using that experience, that knowledge, as I look around this house, I know that a lot of this stuff must go to get the place into instant show-worthy condition.
For an even longer time of my adult life, I worked in the travel business, and I had the great good fortune to travel – a lot. Much of the stuff that adorns the walls and shelves of this house are momentos of those travels. Many of these momentos were not costly or extravagant; many were post cards or prints that we’ve framed and hung on the walls. Some were baubles or trifles or knick-knacks found in curiosity shops or open-air markets or tourist stores. A few were genuine objet d’art. A few. All, however, are more than mere objects; each is a memory of a place in time; each has its own story with its own characters, its own setting, its own plot, its own atmosphere. Each, regardless of original cost or quality, is a treasure.
Sometimes in the busyness of life, I pass by these momentos and don’t even see them. Truly, there are some rooms of this house that I rarely use, and thus, the momentos in those rooms are likewise rarely seen. But today, I looked around at the stuff on the walls of our house – not as the real estate agent apprising the show-worthiness of the place. Rather, as the world traveller and adventurer, the resident of this house. And, I remembered.
Here are some of the momentos on my walls.