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  • Writer's pictureJane Rubin

My Carbon Footprint

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

I just filled a dumpster with 35 years of my life. That’s what it’s all boils down to, landfill, the eye-popping measure of my carbon footprint.

Yes, we decided to take that pivotal plunge. We’ve hit that age when we no longer need the big house in the burbs to raise the kids or host gargantuan parties. We’re ready for the next chapter, the (big) condo downtown.

It’s my nature to step back and be contemplative when traveling through a life-altering chapter like this one. This time, with far less energy, I’ve barely had a moment to think. But, spending a lot of time in the car these days, I’ve decided to dictate a blog.

I’ve learned a few big lessons in this transition. The first, the most obvious, is the sinful amount of crap I’ve spent money on – the paraphernalia connected with life between 35 and 65: old furniture, broken toys, half-baked hobbies, party decorations, basement storage, attic storage decades of photographs, etc. That’s the stuff that God-willingly got dumped in the landfill yesterday. If I see that dumpster on my driveway tomorrow when I get home from the lake, I will have a full-fledged four-vessel coronary! The house lists Monday.

The second lesson surprised me. To prep the house for a prospective buyer, we gave the interior a head to toe repainting, resealed the driveway, touched up trim and scrubbed old coffee stains out of the carpet. I must say, the place looks pretty damn good. So advice to self and others, if you’re getting bored with your home and feel you need to move into new digs, get it fixed up before you make the decision to move. You might be surprised. You may want to stay and enjoy the place for a few more years. I’ve told my husband that if the deal falls through, you won’t see me shedding tears – our place isn’t so bad after all.

Lesson three – I remember Pop referring to this time as the divesting years. Ask yourself, will the kids want it? If the answer is ‘no’, get rid of it. Someone someday is going to be stuck cleaning up the mess of our lives. Don’t make it worse than it has to be.

I’m armed with a few guiding rules for the next chapter: disassemble those photographs and make a beautiful portfolio of pictures that can be distributed to the kids when the time comes. No more clothes and shoes unless there’s a specific reason. The same goes for the scarves, costume jewelry, purses, and other unnecessary items that I’ve tossed into Goodwill bins. No useless furniture or clutter that will be viewed as such when the next place sells. Give my books away after I’m done so others can enjoy them – don’t worry about building a library. Books are meant to be shared.

Since we have to live with our mistakes, and that dumpster-sized footprint is now part of my mistake history, my goal for the next chapter, is not to need a dumpster at all. My new possessions will include memories, digital images, travel, and art. Er, that is, after I get the condo decorated….. Nothing will be stored in the attic except the second furnace. As for the basement, no more boxes - if I don’t know what’s inside, it gets pitched.

Anyone interested in a 100 plus-year-old upright piano? My kids don’t want it….

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