Minimize your losses

May 27, 2014

Losing things is fairly common among every age group but the older we get, the more frequently it happens. Our daughter sent my husband a lovely wool cap for Christmas several years ago but he lost it. After two winters we gave up hope of ever finding it but then yesterday he marches into the house and is wearing it. “It was under the front seat of the car,” he beams. And for a moment all in life is in order again.

I lost the Seiko watch my mother-in-law gave me about 10 years ago, and I am still hoping it turns up in some pocket. I have not one, but seven single earrings in my jewelry box because I hang onto the hope of magically finding the matching ones.

I am trying to throw away other mementoes in my drawers and closets. Sharon commented on my Retirement 101 Facebook page, “My friends and I are celebrating our 50th high school reunion, and several of my classmates still have their corsages.”

Susie from Lewes writes, “It’s easy for me to just give someone something I own, unless there is tons of sentimental meaning. I still have things from a million years ago like my Polio Pioneer card and a few Golden Books…Hangers are to hang clothes on, not a “then” to be hung up by. What has happened has happened, and allowing myself to get beyond the past has freed up my life enormously.”

I asked my friend Sylvia what she has trouble letting go of, and her answer was “the physical sports I cannot play anymore.” So there we lie in yoga class while the teacher tells us to love our bodies, and it gets a bit harder every year. Sometimes we can modify our sports activity. Ray consulted his doctor about back pain, and the doctor wanted to observe his golf swing. His advice, “If the ball lands in the rough, I don’t want you to whack at it. Pick it up and take a one-stroke penalty. Your back is more important.”

What becomes important when you retire? The comfort that all of your friends’ faces look just as old as your own. This summer my old friend Shelagh is coming from England to visit. We met in college when we were 19 years old - she was a foreign exchange student with no plan for spring break, so she came home with me. I am one of six girls, and I figured my parents wouldn’t notice if there were seven of us. One time my mother left me at the mall because she counted six heads in the station wagon when we left, but she forgot that our neighbor Maureen came too. But Shelagh’s British accent could not go unnoticed. My father asked her why teenagers were going ape over the Beatles. And she looked confused. “Going ape? Is that anything like going bananas?” We all laughed.

Speaking of going bananas, all of my neighbors are preparing for our community yard sale tomorrow morning, which is a great way to sell earrings, cassette tapes, and used Christmas candles. It amazes me to witness this event as I get to see what my neighbors think someone else will pay money for. I am going to sell back that ceramic chicken to some other poultry lover. And let go of those boxed “Grey’s Anatomy” DVDs I got last Christmas. Wish I could haul out the dental cabinet and see if I get any takers. Write to me at and tell me what you treasure or what you bought in a yard sale for a quarter. Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend. Check out my blog at