Downsizing has long been a part of our vocabulary starting nearly 30 years ago when Bill moved up to Chicago. I already had an apartment full of furniture, as did he, so when the moving van arrived from Dallas and we jammed all of our things together, some things had to go. It took a couple more moves, first to the West coast and then to the East, before we bought our first house together and downsizing took a back seat to consumption. That lasted a few years and then came the move to Atlanta and it was all going to change…so we thought.
The move south came about because of a work layoff and it looked as if Bill and I could each get temporary jobs and still have an enjoyable life. It didn’t take long for “temp” to turn into permanent and that other “temp” word to return as in temptation to consume. After all we now had an empty house to fill, an acre of grass to mow, gardens to maintain, full-time jobs to drive to, and nothing within walking distance. So much for getting back to basics.The next house was even bigger at 4000 square feet (370 square meters) with an unfinished basement just begging for a 16-seat theater, a British pub, a gym, and a spa-style bathroom. Cha-ching! The two of us certainly had fun there for many years and it was especially enjoyable to share that experience with friends and family. Then retirement arrived and it was once again time to evaluate our priorities.
Annual vacation trips to Europe, usually renting an apartment, house, or even a castle, allowed us to pretend for a couple of weeks that we lived in the UK, Germany, Ireland, or the Netherlands, for example. The high quality of life that we always found in France led to our decision to make this country our new home. A long distance move like that also meant that we’d have another chance to leave behind most of our possessions and start anew; which we have…sort of.
No, we’re not living in an earthen hut, foraging for grubs and greens, and dipping water from the river. This stone house has 2 bathrooms, a fully-functioning HVAC system, is completely furnished, and within walking distance of shops, medical offices, the train station, and the open-air market. What else could we possibly want? Online ordering, of course!
We’ve not gone crazy with acquiring things again for a couple of reasons: after moving 8 suitcases from Atlanta to Paris to Carcassonne, we are well-aware of how much everything weighs and this is a small house with little room to store more stuff. What we have bought really centers around improving our daily lives and keeping us from spending even more money elsewhere. Nothing electrical could come with us so we had to get a printer/scanner/copier to deal with the multitude of documentation we must continue to provide to remain here legally. Electric sonic toothbrushes kept dentist bills to a minimum in Atlanta, so we’ll continue with new ones here, and Bill cuts my hair and Heather’s which means new clippers for both of us. Since we enjoy spicy and fragrant dishes but not the odors left behind inside the house, we’re getting a one-burner induction cooktop to put out on our courtyard. With all of those fresh spices, fruits, vegetables, seafood, and meats only a 15-minute walk away at the market, it’s hard to resist not making everything from scratch.