I’m downsizing from a 2200 square foot house to a 640 square foot apartment. I always thought I’d be a little old lady in a rambling house with tomatoes and cats, but that may not be the case. I have to admit: it’s painful. I pack a box, then unpack it and add stuff to my Craigslist and Recycled Reads piles.
My mom’s books and Bibles; my dad’s medals and fishing gear. My piano and couches the dog (not me) sits on. Reckoning time: how much can I afford to store? Will I ever again (honestly) have the space to have these things with me?
My eureka moment came when I was staring at an anniversary clock my dad bought when he was stationed in Germany in the 1950’s. There’s no doubt my dad considered the clock valuable. He built a wooden packing box and encased it in straw like a nativity set. He bought extra globes in case of breakage. He shipped it back to the States, then to Turkey and back.
But the clock doesn’t fit anymore. It’s too delicate, and I’m not going to have space to display it. It’s going on Craigslist.
What I want to keep are the character traits the clock represents, the ones my dad drilled in — responsibility, tenacity, honesty, loyalty, hard work, a sense of fairness and punctuality (alas, that one is touch and go).
Luckily (some solace) It’s not just me. We live in a world with more people and fewer resources. Organizations have to be more agile, more collaborative and less tied to the shards of their pasts. A box full of memorabilia from my days at IBM: a hardbound commemorative issue of that grand benchmark of corporate publications, Think, resource binders doled out through continuing education programs and lots of award plaques. I only vaguely remember the projects. But the values I keep: respect for the individual, friendship, collaborative teamwork and innovation.
I’m hoping someone will see the clock on Craigslist and value it for something it represents to them. The past is precious, but there’s a lot more to think about, and I need to move faster to get where I want to go.