Sunday, November 6, 2011

Observations in the Dark

Sitting in the dark for a week can offer a wealth of information to a person if they are attuned. The historic October Nor’easter here in New England, plunged us into darkness for days on end. Trees, power lines and poles all came down like dominos. Here in Wilton, not only did we lose power, we lost land line and cell reception. Ham radio operators arrived and set up at the fire station to serve as our emergency communication with the outside world.

This might sound like a nightmare to many, but there are hidden gems in being confined to the dark in the evening with nothing but your spouse for entertainment. And before your mind goes down the wrong path, let me assure you the entertainment was enjoyed fully clothed. One of the benefits I find in being in the dark is that when speaking with your spouse by candle light, without the distraction of TV, is that he looks you in the eye and actually participates in the conversation. I discovered my husband has a sense of humor. (Or he rediscovered this on his own.) We reviewed our day, or I read short passages of my favorite book by candle light after which we would chat about what we thought it meant to each of us. We assessed our current state of affairs, talked about the future, and aligned our goals in harmony with each other.

The result of our week without power also showed us just how much useless junk we have laying round. Just think a minute of everything around you that depends on electricity. Not one of these things is of any use without power. Just how much we really “need” some of these things became quite apparent. This led to a conversation about “cleaning house” of the useless things we hang onto. How much of the items we have tucked away are of any use to us? We dust around them, move them around to make room for other “stuff” and sometimes even forget something is there, only to be discovered by accident 20 years later. In the dark, looking each other in the eye, we pledged to devise a plan to clear away the clutter that holds us back from really being free to do what we wish because we are spending all our time taking care of our useless possessions.

When the lights were restored and we looked around, the pledge we made looked like a daunting task we would never accomplish. While the notion seemed to make sense in the dark, the reality of what we really faced was more frightening in the light of day. After some contemplation, I took an idea from a friend who had cleaned his whole garage by spending 15 minutes a day picking away at it. Yet I knew I needed to embellish that if I were to keep Andy focused and engaged. With that in mind, I hatched a plan that worked for both of us and hooked right onto one of our future goals.

So far the plan is working. Each evening we point to a spot in the house. Then I set the timer on my cell phone for 15 minutes. We go to the spot, and start holding up objects. When we are in doubt, or someone starts to get sentimental, we ask ourselves this question. “Do we really want to pack this when we move?” If the answer is “no” we get rid of it. We have no plan to move anytime soon, yet it’s in our long range plan. If the perfect opportunity arises, we will now be ready to take advantage of it in a New York minute.

The temperature this morning is 24 degrees, yet forecasted to rise into the 50’s. When the mercury reaches that point, we are off on the bikes to enjoy a ride, possibly for the last time this season. Another benefit comes to mind as I wait for the sun to warm things up. The less stuff I have to be responsible for, the more time I have to really enjoy life.


Donna McNicol said...

Good plan....that is how I also handled any new purchases once I made the decision to sell the house and go full-time RVing. Was it something that I would take with me or not. Helped those frivolous but fun purchases!

mq01 said...

fabulous! great reminder to take every opportunity to enjoy one another. i too have downsized and love the freedom it brings. good for you! i hope that your temps have warmed enough to allow for a great ride or two! :)

Unknown said...


In college I was at a friend's house and the power went out. He decided it should be a weekly affair. I understand why. I may write on a computer, but sometimes when I really need to be productive I disconnect from the internet so I can't get distracted. Otherwise, it's weather, news, mail...

My wife and I make a point out of getting together a few times a week (depending on the week) to reconnect. A bottle of wine helps keep from getting distracted.

I wonder what the next generation will do?

Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life