Free and Priceless


Urgency Day 407

500 Things Item 94:  Martha Stewart’s Gardening

  • History: Gift from mom, hopeful as ever
  • Value: I enjoyed the pictures
  • Parting pain: Sorry mom, no pain
  • Un-possessing: Re-gift

How closely does a tale need to hew to your own circumstance to be considered parallel?

Take the story of Carmine and Lydia for example. They are an active couple in their late 70’s from Suffern, New York, using their not-inconsiderable means to move from their upscale single-family home designed by a noted architect into a tiny condo in a retirement center adjacent to a Wal-Mart and described by their current architect as “Polite and suburban, generic and poorly crafted.”

Their granddaughter put it to them more bluntly:

“You can’t live there with all those old people!”

But living is exactly what Carmine and Lydia are doing, even as they prepare for their eventual and inevitable not living. I enthusiastically recommend to you an article in which they are featured in today’s New York Times Home section. Writer Penelope Green neatly sums up their story:

“…it’s about how to downsize gracefully. A good marriage and an open mind help.”

That pretty much sums up what I’m trying to convey in this blog as well. Both the article and my blog chronicle the downsizing of households. I use the phrase “nimbly careening” trying to convey a sense of graceful stumbling toward an increasingly uncertain but certainly downsized future and to evoke all the planned randomness we are experiencing in our particular downsizing effort.

Yes, planned randomness.


  • The Self-Contained Unit leaves home after successfully navigating high school: copious gratitude is expressed
  • Paul and I reduce our load
  • Paul and I reduce our footprint
  • Paul and I spend a lot more time together


  • Unemployment
  • Ditto
  • Op. cit.
  • Paul and I spend a lot more time together

As you can imagine, the Careening! warning light is flashing all the time. But you may well ask, “Where’s the nimbleness?” Ah well, that’s in the quote above too:  the “good marriage and the open mind.” Minds, I would say.

And that’s what was reflected back to me in this article about two people who, unlike us, have the enviable ability to live any way they wish, any where they wish, but who wish to live reasonably, comfortably but, above all, together.

And that’s the immutable state of nimble grace in which I gratefully live with Paul.


One Response to “Free and Priceless”

  1. kara Says:

    Oh, so sweet!

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