Whenever I’m working with a client who is downsizing and moving, I am always keenly aware of the fact that we are helping them through a time of great change in their life; a change that all of us, if we are lucky to live long enough, will go through some day. It seems as though we spend the first half of our lives “upsizing” our homes and possessions to accommodate our lifestyles, and the second half “downsizing” them. Our needs change, our lifestyles change, and our homes must change with them.
Some might see this as a negative thing, but the relief I have seen in so many seniors who have moved to a smaller home that is easier to care for, a retirement community where meals are prepared and served for you, or a townhome that is closer to family members, tells me that it is a positive thing in so many cases.
I am often reminded of a verse from the Bible that tells us, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). When we help a loved one through a season in their life (sometimes a very difficult season), we know that each and every one of us can expect to experience that season ourselves one day.
Recently, I worked with a woman move to a retirement community from her home. Her daughter flew in from out of state to be with her mom during the move and the few days following, to help her get acclimated to her new surroundings. I couldn’t help but see a parallel between this life transition and the transition of parents helping their children “leave the nest” and go off to college or get their first apartment. This child was helping her mother in the same way that her mother had helped her so many times before. She told me about all the people that her mother had helped throughout her life. My client had cared for her own parents, her husband’s parents, and her husband’s aunt during the last season of their lives, when their homes needed to be downsized and their lives needed to be adjusted to fit their changing needs. Now it was time for us to help her, just as she had helped so many before her.
Seeing this kind of circle of life in action causes me to step back and reflect on the path that all of us are on, and the ways in which we help one another along that path. That is one of the reasons why I’m so very passionate about helping others through the rightsizing process. I know that it is part of our duty to care for others as we have been cared for, and one day will need to be cared for again.
The wisdom found in the verses from Ecclesiastes, chapter 3 tells us that we have only a certain amount of time here on this earth, and that we are to make the best of what time we have. There is an appropriate time for everything, and the secret to finding peace is to accept that timing, and to know that we are all part of a great plan, a great big circle of life.
(I also have to report that, interestingly enough, I found that Ecclesiastes 3:6 says “A time to keep and a time to throw away.” This verse has a whole new meaning to me now!)