#92 – Downsizing

“Transitions are never comfortable,” claims spiritual writer Margaret Silf. “They make your feet ache, they make your head ache…worst of all, they make your heart ache.”  (The Other Side of Chaos, p. 3-5).

Last week, I re-read my journals from 2014, when we decided to leave our three-story townhouse condo and move across town to a 55+ high rise condo.  I remembered my feet aching, my head aching, and my heart aching.

But I also recalled the anticipation mingled with the sadness as we prepared to leave Candlewood Crescent in Waterloo for King St. East in Kitchener.

We talked the other day about why we chose to make a move then, at a younger age than most seniors.  We liked many things about our house, and about our location in Waterloo.

candlewood-interiorBut we became increasingly nervous about living in a house with a flight of stairs between each living area, and with a downstairs washroom on a landing rather than on the same level as the kitchen/living/dining room.  We also acknowledged that we didn’t need a place to host family dinners or to entertain grandchildren. And we didn’t  have children to tell us “It’s time to move!” We had to be proactive.

Then our cat Maggie, who we knew would not tolerate a move, had to be put down. “Well,” we said. “Let’s at least look around.”

So we called a realtor and started looking. We found two viable possibilities, both in Kitchener, and eventually took the plunge.  The spaciousness of our new unit and our view from the 10th floor sealed our choice.

candlewood-exteriorBefore we moved, I dedicated a section of my journal to writing down the things I loved and would dearly miss about Candlewood. The orange brick façade. The fireplace and mantle in the living room. Our small fenced in garden out the patio door, with its chippies, rabbits, neighborhood cats and mourning doves, which animated Maggie and entertained us.  We also knew we’d miss Uptown Waterloo with its Princess Theatres, the old Marbles restaurant, and  many coffee shops (including Starbucks for Sam).

As always when we’ve moved, we wrestled with how much decorating and renovating to do at our new place, and how much to “take it as is” for now.

The difficulty of stripping off old wallpaper glued to the drywall became a serious issue to be resolved. We also needed to figure out how to make our space soundproof enough for me to offer confidential spiritual direction.

Yet shortly after we moved I wrote:

The view from my study

“My overriding feeling this morning is gratitude – gratitude that we have been able to make this move, do this downsizing, and do it together.  Gratitude for the wonderful view. Gratitude that each room is as lovely as I had imagined. Gratitude for Rockway Gardens, for the trees and the golf course across the street.”

In my journal I also noted:

“What I keep being stunned by is the sky.  It is so beautiful in the morning and the evening.  The panorama is wonderful.  It makes we want to weep.  That view is now mine.”

RainbowI thought about our move to Eastwood as an adventure – getting to know another part of the city, being among the youngest people in the building, living in a high rise again (as we did when we were first married). And I loved the surprises, like seeing the sun reflect off the high buildings in downtown Kitchener during the morning “golden hour.”

One of my last moving-to-Eastwood entries in 2014 reads like this:

“I do give thanks for being led this far – for being at 1414 King.  I think it will be a good place for us, no matter how life unfolds”….

I’m glad I can reflect on our move four and a half  years later by reading my 2014 journal.  It has been a good move.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. How have sadness, gratitude and anticipation mingled for you as you’ve downsized or in other kinds of transitions?
  2. What has kept your spirit nourished during these chaotic times?

Next week:


10 thoughts on “#92 – Downsizing

  1. “No matter how life unfolds… We never know what lies ahead. I am so thankful that you followed the prompting of your spirits (and I believe also the Spirit) to be proactive so that you could make the move together when you were both well.
    Wise words, for sure.

    Muriel Bechtel
    515 Langs Dr., Unit J,
    Cambridge, ON
    N3H 5E4
    Home telephone: 519-219-3344
    Cellphone: 226-338-6915

    Every sunrise brings the promise of a new beginning.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful reflections, Sue. Your post speaks to my heart. Blessings and peace for you and Sam as life continues to unfold.



  3. As we also enter 1414 King Street East on a much lower floor … and because our house was too big for the two of us as we approach our 75th birthdays, I have many of the same experiences as Sue! I took my trombone to the Thrift on Kent – will I never go back to playing it? I struggled with where to take books which had meant so much to me. I knew Grebel and WLU libraries had all these books. And we left neighbours from 31 years on Rockway. As we left, our neighbour across the street died and I “had his funeral” since he was not a church member. My grief @ his death co-mingled with my leaving the house and so many things! More than things, I was leaving the possibilities of activities I had enjoyed and with my neighbour with visiting and sharing fun and wisdom.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you Sue. A few minutes ago I sat at the piano & played a simple arrangement of Be still My Soul – Finlandia tune & the words if the first verse went through my 82 year old mind. “Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side. Bear patiently the cross of grief & pain. Leave to thy God to order and provide; in every change He faithful will provide. So comforting, I thought
    Then I read your blog for this week, Downsizing. It was like a sweet visit with you. Blessings!


  5. Dear Sue, your column was like a visit with you and it was so nice to remember your Candlewood house through the pictures. But also so fine were the pictures from King Street. I have downsized every time I have moved and downsizing always meant grief as I slowly whittled down my book collection. There was also some uncertainty around each of my moves — would I be able to make ends meet in a new setting with work uncertain, would I like the new job, etc. My last move, although it again meant parting with some beloved treasures, was the best move of all — a joyous move into my new husband’s home, now “our” home, and anticipation for the future. Which anticipation the six years of “the future” now past have entirely vindicated! Ellen


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