Aging Well in the Gorge April 21st, 2021

The sun is outthe days are warmer, and suddenly I have this urge to start cleaning and getting rid of “stuff”. even start thinking it might be time to downsize; find a smaller place to live. Or even fit all my possessions into a Sprinter van (an upgrade from the Volkswagen van of half a century ago) and travel to nedestinations full of excitement and possibilities! But when my head clears, I realize downsizing is more a struggle than an adventure. 

I have read about where to begin: old technology (the three old laptops stored under my desk), stuff you’ll never use or wear (if it hasn’t been used in two years, it’s gone!), old hobbies (Does anyone want a box of miscellaneous postage stamps?). And how to get rid of the stuff: yard sales, non-profit thrift stores, unsuspecting friends? 


But after raising two children in the same house with thirty-five years of accumulated stuff, shrinkwrapped in memories, my biggest challenge is the emotional difficulty of downsizing.  


What anyone else would consider junk ignores my emotional attachments: the broken folding chair my dad gave me before I left for college; the first board game I played with my children; picture notes I drew for my daughter to go with her school lunches.  


When I look at those unusable objects, I experience feelings I have not felt in years. And I admitIm afraid if I toss those memory triggers, I will also be tossing those comforting memories – out of sight and out of mind – forever. And forever is a long, long time.  


There are other reasons why downsizing is difficult for older adults according to David Ekerdt, professor at the Gerontology Center at the University of Kansas. You may feel what you give away will not be appreciated as much by someone else. Or downsizing may force you to face reality: maybe you aren’t going to read all those books you have kept; and you aren’t going to learn to play that electric guitar stored in the basement and tour the world with Mick Jagger. When you must make decisions about what is important to you, you are really defining who you are.  


But after downsizing, most folks are glad they did. You are no longer a prisoner of your past and by deciding what you want to keep as Professor Ekerdt states “you are choosing what you are going to be and this can be very gratifying”. And you may even find less stuff can mean more happiness. 


Powerful Tools for Caregivers Is a six-week educational program designed to help unpaid family caregivers take care of themselves while caring for a spouse, family member, or friend. The class meets virtually by ZOOM from 10 am – 12:00 pm on Fridays beginning May 21st. Class size is limited. The cost is $30 and scholarships are available. To register, contact Britta Willson at 541-387-6404 or 


The name of the kissing game popular among teens was spin the bottleI received correct answers from Betsy Ayers, Louise Wooderson, Mary Pearce, Virginia Johnson, Barbara Cadwell, Lana Tepfer, Carl and Leslie TrabantLinda FrizzellDave Lutgens, Margo Dameier, Gene Uczen, Kim Birge, Patty BurnetMike Yarnell, and Krista Thie this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket. And somehow last week I missed Lana Tepfer. 


In the 60s there were many supergroups such as Crosby, Stills and Nash and the short-lived Blind FaithBut it was not until 1985 when country music had its first supergroup The HighwaymenFor this week’s “Remember When” question whwere the four artists (or at least two), known for their influence on outlaw country music, in this supergroupEmail your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or send with the DVD of Stagecoach, the 1986 made-for-television remake of the 1939 film starring John Wayne. 


Well, it has been another week, trying to see the future in my rearview mirror. Until we meet again, wisdom often comes from keeping your mouth closed and your eyes and ears open. 


“Here is the test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: if you’re alive, it isn’t.” Richard Bach 

Comment your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.