On entering the real world

June 19. September 10. December 5. August 13. Some dates hold emotional value to me. Recently a new date has joined the pantheon of days to celebrate, or at least to remember fondly. On a December 20 my life changed. Yes, I had an inkling of how big the change would be, but I had only hoped it would be a wonderful day of change, like a handful of other days.

Three years ago that day I walked out of IBM, using the security exit, not the regular door I used at the end of a work day. I was stopping at security to turn in the badge that allowed me to enter the plant at any time of day or night. Never again would they let me in unaccompanied. It felt strange to hand my badge to the guard behind the heavy glass window. I’d worked with this security guy several times over the years as I brought hundreds of customers on site, now he was the last person to bid me farewell. I said good-bye and walked into that December day, a day of blizzard, wondering what was ahead.

In some ways, work had been the center of my life. No longer.

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Oh, That Felt Good!

For about thirty years, we accumulated things in the attic. When we moved to this house, back in 1978, the attic was huge! One Christmas my brother and his wife used it for a bedroom, as we had more people than beds that week. It was great.

You can see a stack of empty tubs behind all the other stuff!

You can see a stack of empty tubs behind all the other stuff!

Life changes. We quit cross country skiing. The skis, poles, shoes and equipment went upstairs. Then there were boxes of receipts, cancelled checks, and tax returns to keep, and where better to keep them than in the attic? You cannot believe how many baby toys and clothes can fit into a couple dozen plastic tubs. When Lon moved out, we disassembled his big bunk bed and pushed the pieces into a corner of the attic. When Mara left for college her miscellaneous detritus moved upstairs, too. When the grand children outgrew their clothes, we got even more boxes.

By the time I left IBM in 2012 it was almost impossible to get into the attic, let alone find the cross country ski equipment. We were awash in old photo albums, souvenirs from the trip to Europe, and way too much other stuff accumulated from relatives who had left this world. We could feel the presence of all that stuff in the attic above our bedroom.

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