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Spring Cleaning For The Next Decade

Spring Cleaning

Connection Expert: Kay Newton

2021 is my last year in my fifth decade, and I find myself connecting to the past. In the Northern Hemisphere, we are out of hibernation, time for a spring clean.

It is also a fabulous time to reflect on what is crucial in life. There were so many lessons over the past ten years. Here are a few I recall.

Always Take Your Own Medicine First:

There was no intention of changing our lifestyle!

At the age of 53, I had no idea that

– I would move continents
– Sell our luxury home of twenty years
– Life with a 20 kg suitcase would be fun

Ironically, I had just begun to work on a new themed retreat, “Ditch The Baggage”, for midlife women to let go of mental and physical baggage that no longer served.

My wonderful retreat was all about connecting to the beauty of nature in Mallorca. We ate good, wholesome food and used natural homemade toiletries. The perfect space to make a plan for letting go. In addition, I never expected that I would be taking my own medicine in such large quantities!

I was happy. I had a dream home the kids had grown and flown the nest. An ideal base for others to come and connect to the beauty of Mallorca, with or without my guidance. There was no intention of changing our lifestyle!

Life Changes In An Instant:

Out of the blue, my husband got a call about a job in Zanzibar, Tanzania, to build a five-star hotel. I knew nothing about this part of the world. Google told me it was a spice island renowned for its clove trade, slavery in bygone years, and Freddy Mercury had started life there. 

Hubby, who had been born in Africa, began his construction career in this part of the world and felt a return would be a fitting end to his career, so he took the job!

Instead of just talking about making a smaller footprint upon the planet, we were going to do it. One month after saying “yes”, hubby was at the equator 6000 km away. I had the task of cleaning and decluttering our six-bedroom house to make it ready for sale.

We all know of horror stories of how life changes in an instant. This adventure wasn’t horrific, it was exciting, yet it brought home that the only constant in the universe is change. We have the choice to adapt or die.

Some stuff was easy to let go of, other bits were heart-wrenching, yet it ALL had to be done.

Grand Scale Spring Cleaning:

In the space of a few weeks, we ditched 20 years’ worth of physical baggage; the kids’ school projects, family artwork, books, CDs, cutlery, and a hoard of Tupperware. It all had to go! It was Spring cleaning on a grand scale. 

Some stuff was easy to let go of, other bits were heart-wrenching, yet it ALL had to be done.

I passed a lot of stuff onto other people to add to their hoards; stuff went to charity. I put some boxes into storage, things belonging to the kids and paperwork we had to hold on to for the authorities. The paperwork got to me. It felt like time wasted to sort and burn what no longer served.

Catharsis:

Each day I felt the weight lifting from my shoulders. Space began to appear, and I was able to connect to new feelings. Calm followed nerves for the unknown. The adventure of life was once again exciting.

I began to connect to nature again and see things differently. All those trees and plants we had lovingly put into the soil over 20 years took a life of their own, vibrant, brilliant and proud. I began to see as if this would be the last time I would glance at them. Therefore, I needed to have them truly etched upon my memory. Memory is the only place to keep all “stuff”.

Selling the house would mean our two boys would no longer have a home to call theirs. Yet, as they say, home is where the heart is, wherever you are in the world. One boy works in the yachting industry, traveling the world; the other works in renewable energy in the UK. The world had become their oyster. However, Mallorca seemed to be the last place on earth where they would want to settle down. It was time for us all to move on.

In all honesty, we had all outgrown the house.

Too Big For Two:

To let go of the connection and memories of each room, to clean and de-personalize each space.

The house was too big for two people and would be too much work for us as we grew older. We had known for quite a while it was time to move on. Yet, we never expected the universe to answer us so quickly. “Let go, let go of everything”, it said!

After that, the hardest part was to stage the home for sale. To let go of the connection and memories of each room, to clean and de-personalize each space. Tubs of neutral paint rolled onto walls, and repairs achieved. Some of the jobs miraculously ticked off on the “to do” list had been there for nearly twenty years.

In conclusion, It was hard work for me to do alone, physically and emotionally draining. Luckily I had the support of wonderful friends and a good list of reliable workmen to help.

Simplicity:

We had both packed just 20 kg of luggage; basic clothing, essential toiletries, favorite foods, and a medical kit. My wardrobe now consisted of items chosen to match in colour and to confuse the mosquitoes. 

Above all, we were about to experience a simple new life in a two-roomed, tinned-roof house near the sea. Simplicity connects to time and creates space. I had an expanse to write, think, and contemplate. Simplicity became my new key to unlock the meaning of life. I never want to throw away that key.

Priceless Gift Of Opportunity:

With Covid19 halting travel, connecting to my memories has been priceless. Letting go of our home led to Tanzania, and I also had the opportunity to go to; India, the Czech Republic, Kenya, South Africa and Panama. I found time to walk 729 km of the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

The experiences over the past ten years have helped me grow from the inside out. However, they have created confidence for me to deal with life changes. None of it was in my life plan. Yet, when an opportunity comes knocking at your door, it is foolish not to answer. I cannot wait to see what the next decade connects me to.

About the Author:

Kay is the founder of Midlife Strategies, an award-winning International Speaker, and an enthusiastic author. She is an acknowledged expert guiding women to find their mojo, through the Midlife Squeeze.

Kay’s books include: 

Today, Kay lives a simple life next to a beach in Mallorca, Spain. You can find Kay here: www.KayNewton.com.