Hey, I’m not your enemy

“Hey, I’m not your enemy, here. I’m your friend,” I told one of the family members last week.

What happens when you are ready to make a change?

You understand it’s necessary for the growth and well being of everyone concerned. But, not everyone is ready to change, and you can’t make anyone change until they are ready.

Today, they’re all comfortable. But, tomorrow, they won’t be, because life will go on without them.

I told our family in February, “Things are changing with your Dad and me, Our age and our limitations for doing things are challenged. I don’t like it, but we can’t keep up with the workload. We are going to make some changes. Probably we won’t be able to get it all done until September 1, but we are working on downsizing.”

In the meanwhile, I said to our daughter last week, “We might need for you to move from the apartment sooner than we thought.”

She said to me, “You said I had until September 1.”

“Things have changed.”

“I’m not going to be ready until September 1.”

“You need to be. I’ve been telling you since February.”

When personalities clash, you feel like you’ve just been beat up with a baseball bat. I’m the rational one here, but I just became the odd guy out. I am sure that our daughter felt like she was beat up, too.

My friend came over to help with some of the work.

She said, “There are a couple people here in denial. They don’t look like they’re planning on moving. One is planting trees and a garden, and the other one is helping her. They don’t think you are serious.”

“I’m more serious than you know,” I said. “It’s getting tougher and tougher on Al to keep up two properties. What we thought we needed before is not reality today.  We once loved building, dreaming and doing all our projects. That was yesterday. We can dream again, but in smaller ways. Ways that brings comfort to us and not more work.”

My 4,000 square-foot art gallery and studio are not necessary today. I’m also giving up things as an artist, a certain persona, and a certain privilege to own it and say that I own it. The price is too high just to say I own something. But, in return, I’m getting things done that will add to our well being.

First of all, we will be kinder to ourselves. We will have time to go on a vacation. The price to have all that space has become a noose around our neck financially and personally.

To let go of prized possessions is also uncomfortable; but, think of what I won’t have to dust. At the moment, in all, there are seven bathrooms to clean in five cabins, an apartment and a four-bedroom house. This is not counting the house we live in.

Yes, it is time.

I love the poem by Anais Nin that says, “Then the time came when the risk it took to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

I can see the writing on the wall.

Everyone has been very comfortable.

Too comfortable.

They want to remain tight in the bud. It’s a good life and no one wants to do it different. I can get poetic and tell them they will miss the fullness of the blossom.

They won’t buy it.

They’re still mad at me.

Our daughter is a companion to My Sweet Al. They have fun together, but they also enable each other.  It’s unfair for us to ask one of our children to put their life on hold so we can be happy.

My Sweet Al said, “I’m going to miss her.”

I said to him,  “I will miss her, too. But she can visit us on her days off. You can meet her for Grape Slushies at Happy Hour. You will have time to go fishing with her.”

“But, I don’t have time to go fishing.”

“That’s what I’m telling you. You will have time when you don’t have so much to do.

“I know you love to do all that stuff together. You can have puppy playdays for your dogs. They won’t forget each other. We will still have family night once a week with Al and Allison.”

Meanwhile I told our daughter to get pre-approved for a loan. “You have a down payment: buy your own little house, and start building for yourself. You were on your own for 20 years, and you made it, just fine. You will see that your life will start expanding, also. You do not want to grow old with us.”

I’m sure I’m causing some raised eyebrows.

What does it hurt? What’s the big deal? Sweet Al is happy, let him be.

Update: Our daughter has fallen in love with a little house. She’s made an offer. Everyone is happy now.

Wow … what it takes to make a change.

Final brushstroke: Why fluff up the nest if you don’t have to? Why? Because we will not grow personally, and we will become resolved with the way it is.  We do an injustice to each other when we settle for remaining tight in the bud.

Artist’s quote

“Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning.” — Robert Kiyosaki.

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This story was posted on July 3, 2013.