Noemi had a interesting post a while back about "Restriction vs intention" -- what she can't do versus what she is trying to do.
This struck a chord with me and made me think about my own life. In some ways, I feel like my life has been shrinking, becoming more restricted, over the few years:
- I lost my job = my income has shrunk (and so, hence, has my spending).
- My social circle (never very big to begin with) has shrunk. I can go for days without carrying on a meaningful, non-transactional conversation with another adult besides dh (most store clerks don't count). I have lost touch with almost all the people I used to interact with during the work day. I've stayed in touch with a few of my former coworkers through social media, but rarely see or socialize with any of them. We used to live closer to one retired coworker and she & I would get together now & then, but since the move she's a lot further away. Another friend I occasionally socialize with will be moving to another province soon. BIL & SIL and several of dh's cousins live close by, but most of them still work during the day, and are otherwise busy with kids & their activities, aging parents to look in on, etc.
- I downsized my possessions, even my precious book collection!! (maybe not enough, but still by a significant amount, lol), sold our house (which, at about 1200 square feet, wasn't huge to begin with) and moved into an 874-square-foot condo.
- I lost access to the great public transit we enjoyed (well, better than what we have here at the moment...!) -- & with it, my sense of mobility and freedom (particularly since I do not drive). There's road construction going on around our condo building at the moment that makes it difficult just to get out of our building's driveway, nevermind actually drive anywhere...!
- I'm losing people that I knew (and who knew me) during my growing-up years -- relatives, friends of my parents (including one just last week). I'm also obliged to attend funerals/visitations for people I don't necessarily know, or know well (but it's still a funeral, right? ...!) -- friends of dh's family, cousins' inlaws, etc. (I was reorganizing the paper in the slots on my desk recently and was startled by how many funeral cards I've accumulated in the past several months...!)
- Even the musicians who scored the soundtrack of my youth have been dropping like flies lately, it seems: Glenn Frey of the Eagles, David Bowie, Prince, Kenny Shields of Streetheart, Skip Prokop of Lighthouse, to name just a few.
I’ve been trying to “reframe” things in my mind -- focus less on what I might be losing vs what I'm gaining. Example: I lost my job -- and with it, some of my income, my old daily routines & social interactions -- but also a LOT of stress -- and I've gained more time and freedom to do other things. I lost square footage, possessions and familiar surroundings when we downsized into our condo -- but I gained the opportunity for more travel & other experiences, closer proximity to our extended family, including our nephews (and maybe, in the future, some great-nephews & nieces??). We lost many of the headaches that go hand in hand with home ownership -- lawns to mow, weeds to pull, sidewalks to shovel after snowstorms... And I gained a MUCH happier husband (which is definitely worth a lot!). :)
But it's hard. It's hard to let go of the old familiar life & stuff.
Don't get me wrong. My "new" life is a good one, overall. Like my old life, it has its advantages, and its painful moments. But sometimes it's hard to stay focused on the positive, and not dwell on what you've lost or what you miss.
Do you feel like your life is expanding? Contracting? In neutral gear??