Feb 062012

Just about all of us at one time or another have experienced buyer’s remorse. That godawful feeling you get a couple days after you have purchased something. It usually happens with a large expensive purchase. The moment after you sign the mortgage papers and realize that 30 years is a loooonnng time to making payments on something. Or the day that thick payment book comes in for the new car you just bought. For a few brief terrifying moments you wish you had held off on the purchase, or tried to work a better deal, or you wonder where in the hell all that money will come from to pay for the damn thing. A lot of what ifs go through your mind about what could go wrong. Eventually however, you settle down and deal with your decisions the way any rational human would…with booze and drugs.

But what about seller’s remorse? You’re in the middle of a downsizing frenzy. You are getting rid of stuff left and right. Suddenly, something is gone and you wonder if you did the right thing or not. Should you have held onto that car? Maybe stick it out with the mortgage payments on the house for a bit longer? Seller’s remorse can be just as painful, if not financially, at least emotionally, as buyer’s remorse. I know, I’ve been there.

I mentioned before that about 10 years ago I purchased a rv lot in the lower Keys. I had a house in Orlando, was gainfully employed and making good money. When I found the lot, I jumped at the chance to finally be able to move down here. A few months later I sold the house in Orlando and moved full time to the Keys. it’s started out great but a year later I found myself wanting out. To this day I can’t figure out what it was but something about living there didn’t agree with me. The housing boom was just kicking in so when I found out I could double my money I sold the place as fast as I could and went back to Orlando. It didn’t take too long to realize I had made a horrible mistake. I spent 5 miserable years back in the city kicking myself in the ass every day for selling the place in the Keys. The memories of why I left faded as I regained a desire to move back to the islands. At times it seemed like it would never happen yet, here I am, almost four years now and happy as a porcine mammal rolling in fecal matter. In the long run, the decision to sell the rv lot now looks like a good move. I got a chance to live in Key Largo, Marathon, and now Key West. Things moved in a very different direction than I had planned but I am quite satisfied with the current results. I still get a yearning for the old rv resort and I may well end up back there someday but for now, it’s all good.

When I was going through the final phases of my downsizing last year I knew I would have some tough decisions. Closing down a business that was just starting to grow, making a move to the lower islands. But the big one that I agonized over was selling the jeep. If you go back into the archives from last spring and summer you can read the whole saga. But once it was done I was very surprised. While I was a bit sad watching the jeep drive off for the last time, I had no feelings of remorse about selling it. I have yet to regret it 7 months later, and by now, I doubt that I will. The jeep served its purpose well. It was the best vehicle I ever owned. But it doesn’t fit into my current lifestyle and if things change where I need another vehicle, I suspect I can find one. I see the damn things all over the place. Apparently, they still make them.

The whole point I’m trying to get across here is that at some point as you downsize you will have some regrets about getting rid of something. It could be something big like a vehicle or maybe even something simple like an item with sentimental value. It’s why I’ve always stressed the point of being patient in your downsizing efforts. Take your time and think about stuff before you get rid of it. Do you use it? Does it have value to you? If so, then hang onto it. So what if you have set a timetable to be at a certain point in your downsizing project. Take your time and make sure that what you getting rid of is what you want to get rid of. And if you do happen to get rid of something and start regretting it later, it’s ok. Most of the time whatever you got rid of can be replaced. Other times you’ll find that the longer you go without something, the less you’ll be inclined to be wanting to replace it. That’s pretty much what happened in my situation. It took a while but I got over it and things worked out for the best. Seller’s remorse will happen. Just remember why you started downsizing in the first place and don’t lose sight of where you want to be.

Despite all the gimmicks and inventory about how many possessions we own, it’s not the number of things that counts. Minimalism is getting your life to point where you have just the right amount of things you need to be happy in life. Minimalism is getting rid of the clutter and stress of having things that distract or hinder what you really want in life. Minimalism is keeping that which is important to you. You’ll pretty much know when you’ve reached that point. And when you do, it’s a great feeling. But if you do get a little seller’s remorse…remember time will heal all…and there is always booze and drugs.

Capt. Fritter