How many FOFs does it take….?

Put three FOFs together–even for a few minutes– and they’ll surely start sharing.

My FOF neighbors, J and S, were leaving their apartments this morning precisely when I left mine. I entered the elevator on the 11th floor. J got on at 7.

“How are you doing?” I asked J.

“I’m tired. It’s been a tough year.”

“Is your health ok?”

“Yes, but I wish I could stop working. It’s taking its toll.” (J is an English teacher in New Jersey and it takes her 90 minutes to commute to work.)

“That’s why I love having the office in my apartment,” I said. “I couldn’t bare commuting at this point in my life. But I’d like to get rid of everything I’ve accumulated and live in a clean, all white space with three sticks of furniture. I can’t stand all the things I own.”

Elevator door opens on 3. S enters.

“Hi S. J and I were just talking about simplifying our lives.”

“Joe and I were just in Barcelona,” S answered. “I’d like to pack up and move there. I used to love Paris but now I’d prefer Barcelona.”

“I still love Paris. I’d live there for three months, three in New York, three in Malibu and three in the Caribbean,” I fantasized out loud.

By now we were in the lobby. S went off to walk her dog and J and I continued our conversation in front of our building.

“When I’m not teaching I’m working at home reading papers,” J said. “I work  24/7. This is going to be the first sunlight I’ve seen all weekend.”

“I had a friend who told me years ago, when he was 60, that he wanted to simplify his life,” I told J. “I didn’t understand what he meant then because I was only 45, but now I do. Why do you suppose we feel this way?”

“I think all our possessions are starting to close in on us. We spend our lives accumulating things and then we realize how unimportant these material things are,” J surmised.

“So well said.”

And off we went, I to my yoga lesson and J for a much-needed walk in the beautiful morning sun. How fitting.

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6 Responses to “How many FOFs does it take….?”

  1. Linda McCoy says:

    After three corporate moves, eliminating things I didn’t need became a regular routine. I do have one regret though……..I wish we had kept more of the little things that remind us of our son and daughter’s childhood. The kids always say “oh mom you can throw that away.” Truth is, some of their little drawings, cards, and tiny toys they are going to want when they have a family of their own. I now keep a shoebox with each of their names on it, if I stumble upon something that I think might make them smile, I just put it in and stick the box back on a shelf. Doesn’t take up too much space.

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  2. Deborah Milne says:

    Good post Geri & helps me confirm what we are doing is the right thing. My husband & I put our 4300 sq. ft. home in Houston on the market in Aug. Our hopes are to part with most of our belongings & to move to Aberdeen, Scotland where my husband grew-up.

    We recently sold our motorcycles & now the cars are next. Is it easy to let it all go, absolutely not; but very much like you wrote we’ve come to conclusion that our belongings have taken over owning us & it’s time for us to start living life. We both lost our mom’s this year & with that came the realization that the time is now. Our youngest just left for college & there are no excuses.

    Our neighbor thinks I have lost it. He & his wife want a larger home, more rentals, more this, more that. I just want to walk the streets soaking in the culture, taking photographs, meeting people, having family come visit, & live the life that I’ve always dreamed of. Trying to impress no one, but me.

    Perhaps we all get there one day, it is if we live long enough. Thanks Geri for the great reminder today of why we’re doing all this!

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  3. Sharon Nord says:

    Recently I had sort of a forced simplification. Had to sell the enormous house and 90% of what was in it. I cried for weeks while packing and sorting “things” out – some to storage most to estate sale. I too spent a life accumulating stuff I didn’t think I could live without. Now I’m living in an apartment (for the first time in my life) and everything has a place there is no extra room here.
    I feel free and wonderful. I don’t think about all that stuff, I’m just enjoying all the people in my life now.

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    • Geri says:

      Hi Sharon,

      I want to do what you did. Sorry it made you sad, but happy you are happy now.

      Fondly,
      Geri

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  4. Deborah Farkas says:

    I enjoyed reading this at 8:30 pm Sunday, after a slow lazy day. Sept in, pancakes for breakfast, laundry, cleaned out the garden of the last vegies, walk the dog, meatloaf for dinner. Read with a cup of tea for two whole hours before bed! A lot to be said for having a little “down” time.

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    • Geri says:

      Hi Deborah,

      I enjoyed your comment. Your day sounded perfect to me. Are you by any chance related to the family that owned Alexander’s Department Stores?

      G.

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