Say Yes to the Mess

I’m in between act 2 and act 3 of my fabulously important life. Too old to be young, too young to be old.  I feel like this should be the start of something new, not just me thrashing around the dregs of the whole mom thing. I don’t really want more friends. I do like my new tap class. I would like to spend more time with my husband. Have I retired? To my bed and my kindle. Has he retired? Nope, but he’s coming round the bend. Oddly, I find it’s a bit of a bummer that there is no addiction to love and nurse except happy hour, and now I’ve killed that too. (More on that).  

Today I moped around Gelson’s Market shopping for our big family Shabbat. Everything is so expensive.  I’m annoyed by the man on his phone standing still in the middle of an aisle. I remember when we first arrived in Pacific Palisades when Alicia was 4. We had already begun doing Shabbats by then, and every Friday I’d bake challah and absolutely love being a mom to this awesome girl. I was excited. Magical mommy time– the birthday parties and volunteering and being that great mom who showed up and raised money and chaired events. I was good at it. I chose this place because it was a perfect place for a family. I wouldn’t choose it as a place for retirement– but maybe wherever you go, there you are. 

Should we move? Where would we go? Doesn’t work so much in L.A. You sell your house and buy a what? A hut. A dog house in my step-daughter’s yard?

The first step of downsizing is deciding to do it. It’s a vague cloud that I hoped would never open up on us. We bought our townhouse thinking we’d skip right over the big house and go straight to a place we could get old in. So wrong. That was before the world fell over and all the money fell out of its pockets. That was before anyone realized that a home you own isn’t the same thing as a bank, and you’re not supposed to live off of it. Well, a lot of people know you’re not supposed to do that, but not me. I was big on keeping up with the Joneses.

Downsizing is like the steps of dying. Purge. Stage. Sell. Rent. Buy. I don’t want to do any of it. I end up on the side of the bed looking at photos then throwing things away and not having anywhere to throw them. There’s not enough recycling bins in the universe for all the crap I have, all the crap my husband has and all the crap my mother had that I still haven’t finished “processing”.

My daughter comes to my room asking what I think of the card for her best friend’s bridal shower, and I am so touched that I realize I can’t bear the thought of going through this whole move– unpacking all our stuff and realizing that there we are. Just the two of us. My husband and me in some master planned community. The movers will have left, and I’ll stand among boxes in my new home, and miss my daughter so much I can barely speak.

I am terrified of experiencing the feeling that I’ve made a horrible mistake. I’ve had that feeling before. This whole downsizing project was my idea,  my choice and I’m scared I won’t remember any of the reasons this made sense. I should have made more money. More of myself.  Or  do I not care? 

My real estate agent is going to kill me. I go back and forth like a politician on police reform. But I bought myself a year, because the only place I really like isn’t even built yet.  We’re on the “interest list.” Not committed. Just interested. So I’m going to journal here about this year. I call it “spewage”. Spitting thoughts on how we go or don’t go from either here to here or here to there.


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