I read many excellent, interesting and inspiring books in 2008 but there is one that has had a profound effect on my outlook on life. It is a book that I reviewed at the beginning of November: The Boomer Burden by Julie Hall. I promised to take a serious look at the issues raised in the book as soon as the Christmas holiday was over and here I am on 2nd January, ready to face a new year with enthusiasm and determination.
Like most people, I joke about getting older: the slowing pace of life and the forgetfulness. I don't feel old and, according to my children, I don't look old, thanks to the gene I inherited from my father that keeps my hair from turning grey. I can't keep on thinking of myself as middle-aged though, unless I plan to live to be 125 or more and my father certainly did not pass on a longevity gene; he died 30 years ago today, at the age of 66 (or 16 if we only count his Leap Year birthdays). My mother died unexpectedly at 72, so my family has not had to consider the implications of aged parents. As my sister still lives in the family home, we haven't had to dispose of their possessions, either.
The Boomer Burden made me think about how different my life is from that of my parents. I have lived in several different parts of England, while they died in the place where they were born. They lived quite simply, while I have accumulated masses of 'stuff' which, alongside all that my husband has amassed and all that the children have left behind, would be a dreadful burden for someone to have to sort through. 'Someone' in our case could only be our son and daughter and we don't want that to be their legacy.
So, at dinner last night, my husband and I made a resolution for 2009: we will de-clutter. The thought of empty cupboards and shelves, of space and tidiness and ease of movement around the house is thrilling. The thought of actually disposing of all that we have collected during 35 years of marriage is perhaps not quite so exciting. But we are determined. We are resolute. The MM has already made a start in the library, selecting 50 books at random and piling them on the table. The first problem/tension: 38 of them belong to me! I think this exercise is going to take a long time.
I was interested to see that my husband has set aside a number of his maritime books. Perhaps a final acknowledgement that his sea-faring days really are over? Most of them will probably go to a charity shop but this 1970 edition of R.V. Tooley's Maps and Map-Makers might be of interest to someone. It is a hard back in good condition. If you would like to have it then leave a comment or send me an email. I'll post it to anywhere in the world, I just ask that you make a donation equivalent to the postage to a charity.
There will be lots more items in the great give-away of 2009 so watch this space!