Looking back, I think that one’s thoughts about life go in phases. For example, for the few years before I turned seventy, I found myself preoccupied with cleaning the house and disposing of things so the chore wouldn’t be left to my family afterwards. I read clips about “four boxes” – getting all of one’s possessions into those boxes so that you would clean up everything before you were carried out with your toes up. Finally, it got kind of tiring because, while I made some progress, a lot actually, I was worn out thinking of what I would leave behind, rather than living for the moment each day.
From my seventies, I started giving away precious things to my daughters that I had wanted to leave them anyhow – but would get the pleasure of sharing their (hopefully) pleasure in receiving them. An interesting thing that I discovered, is that this didn’t placate my feeling of aging either. Instead, I found that I still wanted to find new treasures and even bought an 18th century blanket chest at an auction online because I had submitted a very low bid and forgot about it! I was fiddling around with online bidding and put in a very low bid on an early blanket chest in old red paint with a fabulous base like one I used to have. Lo and behold, I was flabbergasted to learn that I had won the chest for far less than the estimate (which is usually set low to begin with.)
Still shocked, I also began to rearrange my main living area to accommodate the chest in the third floor of a Queen Anne Victorian house that my husband restored years ago – wide board floors, a vaulted ceiling and old New England bowls set in a tableau on the kitchen soffit. It’s not a big space but it’s roomy enough and we underwent a transformation of our space where we haven’t rearranged the furniture for over a decade! Isn’t it amazing the way the Universe works?
I used to be an antique dealer and I was happy to see it when I picked it up – original cotter pin hinges, lovely flower-engraved William and Mary brass handles, wide dove-tailing on the edges of the drawer construction, etc. etc. Most beautiful of all was the graceful curved base known to originate from the Connecticut River Valley. So, all of a sudden, an early New England blanket chest appeared, virtually out of nowhere – and I remembered how excited and wonderful I felt when I was in my thirties after stumbling upon some early piece of history with it in the back of my car driving home.
So instead of feeling that I had to give away everything and wait until I got hit by a truck or ebbed away with some late-blooming illness, I decided to live again. HAHA! It feels good and I’m glad that I’m done with that long phase of preparing for leaving this earth and my family – and being back here, doing the Jumble puzzle in the newspaper every morning, brewing rich cups of Peet’s French Roast coffee when I feel like it and enjoying a good night’s sleep with my beloved husband, knowing that I’ll probably wake up to another new day!
And while the closets and things have been sorted through and organized, I still have more than four boxes of stuff left! Oh well.