Dispatch from a Soon-to-Be Empty Nester

As new iVoice Linda Sellers prepares to downsize, she realizes, "Everyone gets a box."

I’m collecting boxes right now. Lots of them.

I’ve made the decision to sell my house. My mortgage is high, my house is in disrepair and I don’t have the desire to maintain something so overwhelmingly labor intensive -- by myself.

Since my divorce I’ve done what I could to keep the kids from having too much change in their lives. We’ve stayed in the same house and same schools, and kept the same friends.

But in the process, I’ve kept myself from making the one change I’ve needed in my life: to get out from under a house that I didn’t enjoy to begin with. From the moment we bought it, I didn’t click with the house or the neighborhood. I think that kept me from enjoying life the way I should have. If you went down the list of “things I wanted in a house,” this had nothing on that list. We bought it because the basement was perfect for my then-husband. Made sense at the time.

Well, he’s moved on.

The kids are moving on too, as they graduate, get jobs and so on, and it is time for me to do what I want to do.

I’ve got a job, which I love, and now I need a home that I can love just as much. And home may be an apartment for now. I’m figuring that out pretty quickly.

It’s a little bit exciting. It’s a little bit terrifying. It’s a lot needed.

When my mom was dying back in 2001, I knew I would inherit everything that she had accumulated in her house over 30 years or more. She told me jokingly, ”I feel for you having to sort out this mess. Just bring in a bulldozer -- have fun, and then buy a Porsche!” We would laugh. The WWII missile in the garage was the kicker. I kid you not; there was a -- we believe -- dead bomb in the garage. It had been there 30-plus years and I had no idea. She told me good luck figuring out how to get rid of that, and to try not to end up on the front page of the newspaper.

I told her I would take care of everything so she could enjoy what she could of her last days.

Watching your mom take her last breath makes a bomb in the garage seem like a no-brainer.

She was also the keeper of a lot of memorabilia from my stepdad, grandparents and great grandparents. We used to say everyone got a box when they died. It held the things you couldn’t quite get rid of. False teeth, baby teeth, army medals, Ronald Reagan buttons. My stepdad got two boxes. He was special like that.

I’ve not been able to sort my mom into a box yet. I have to do that now.

For some reason, it’s taken 10 years to be able to do that. But I’m ready to tackle it so I can move forward. The real challenge is that I’ve moved so far backward in the past few years that I’ve got a lot of ground to cover to get to square one.

So I’ll take it all one box at a time. One for my mom. And one for me. Okay maybe two. I like to think I’m special enough like my stepdad.

Whatever… I’m moving on and moving out. Missile free. And it feels really good.

Linda Sellers is an iVoice on iVillage. Follow her on Twitter:  @linda_sellers. This blog post originally appeared on shortpumppreppy.com.

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