Aging Well in the Gorge January 19th 2022

What can I do on a cold and snowy winter day? I’m not a skier or snowboarder as some of you are, I’d rather stay someplace warm, so my wife and I decided to finally start sorting through all our stuff stored in our 3500 square foot house and donating, recycling, or tossing what we no longer need - like an early spring cleaning!

But what should I get rid of? Recently on the AARP website, I found “13 Things to Throw Away Right Now“ by Nicole Pajer explaining how to adopt a minimalistic lifestyle. Now, you may be thinking, “Doesn’t minimalism mean those sterile white houses with empty walls and uncomfortable furniture?” It doesn’t have to be. As Nicole points out, a minimalistic lifestyle is about keeping what enhances your life by serving a purpose or bringing joy - and getting rid of what doesn't. In other words, does the item add value to your life?

She mentions the more obvious things to discard that we often don’t: damaged items - may be that chipped favorite mug should finally go; clothes that don't fit anymore – donate them to a non-profit thrift store; extras or duplicates - how many coffee cups do you really need?; items from a past phase of your life such as an abandoned hobby or business clothes - am I ever going to wear a tie again?; and photos which I’ll write about in the future.

But she also pointed out one category of items I’ve always found difficult discarding: “just-in-case” items. How much stuff in my kitchen junk drawer and my basement will I ever use that can’t be replaced for less than $20 if needed? Not much.

As I look around the house there are three other categories of items I would quickly add to her list starting with the “maybe-someday” items. That includes all my books and magazines that I might make time to read, someday, maybe? Then there are the “might-be-valuable” items. In that group are all my record albums from the 60s. Maybe I can sell them on E-bay! (Does anyone want to buy a 45 rpm record of the “House of a Rising Sun” by the Animals?) And the last category, things “maybe-my-children-will-want”. You don’t need to worry. They don’t!

Here is one last tip: avoid just organizing all your stuff – which is my first go-to answer to all the clutter. As pointed out in the article, organizing is just well-planned hoarding

I have found it is not easy sorting through all my stuff because of the memories that come flooding back. But it’s also difficult because I am asking myself what is important in my life, now. What adds value to the rest of my life? By adopting a minimalist lifestyle there will be less things to take care of and more time to spend on what you want to do in the many years ahead. As my mother-in-law said, “After those items are gone, you don’t really miss them.”

I received a variety of correct answers for last week’s question about the name of the common antiseptic from the ’50s that some called “Monkey Blood”. Those answers included mercurochrome which most people answered; Merthiolate which I remember using; and Betadine and tincture of iodine. I received correct answers from Lucile Stephens, Louise Wooderson, Billie Maxwell, Doug Nelson, Douglas Earnst, Barbara Cadwell, Cindy Wambach, Lana Tepfer, Donna Mollett, Rebecca Abrams, Gene Uczen, Rhonda Spies, Shirley Cox, and Michelle Himes whose favorite memory was of her and her sister adding Mercurochrome to baby oil to get a tan, and who is this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Rebecca Abrams.

Regarded by many as the greatest musical film ever made, and one of my favorites, what was the name of this romantic comedy about the transition from silent film to talkies starring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds, and Jean Hagen? E-mail your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of Cyd Charisse in a green sequined dress.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to hear what is meaningful through all the noise. Until we meet again, you don’t know your limits until you exceed them.

 “If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused.” Walter Mondale

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