The desire to rid oneself of extraneous baggage in retirement extends beyond the decluttering of an abundance of possessions. In my case it has included the deletion of thousands of emails, the storing of paperless records and the digitising of a lifetime of photographs. Anything that takes up my time or space whilst simultaneously sapping mental energy needs to be confronted and streamlined, if not eliminated.

One of the drains on my emotional resources is always the annual completion and then submission of my tax return by 31st January. Procrastination leads me to defer this hateful task until the deadline approaches, despite knowing that the information is to hand and that I have, so far as possible, reduced the complexities that used to make deriving the necessary figures a backbreaking burden. My loitering inevitably denies me the sense of tranquility and well-being that I have come to revel in. If I am ever to achieve the joy of total simplification, further steps must be taken; steps of a size that dwarf and tower over the mere reduction of the little stuff.

When our tenants gave notice to leave the property which we let, it provided a fortuitous opportunity to divest ourselves of a large load upon our shoulders. We, therefore, put the house on the market at the beginning of December immediately the premises were vacated and within a week a sale had been negotiated, subject to contract.

Nobody, of course, ever described the road to simplification as an easy route. Finding a buyer quickly was a real achievement but the house is 120 miles away; there is furniture to dispose of; regular inspections to be carried out for insurance purposes; questionnaires to be answered and documents to be provided. Worse still the need to complete that tax return hasn't gone away and the administration involved in selling a house is now to be undertaken contemporaneously, causing a doubling up of the bureaucratic nightmare that I am coming to associate with any kind of official paperwork. Did I really once make a living basking amongst forms?

Removing another layer of  responsibility edges me closer to an uncomplicated lifestyle. My focus, remains firmly on the horizon where an unmuddled, effortless and yet rewarding existence beckons. It's just unfortunate that there is so much inevitable hassle in getting there. At the moment, this stage of retirement is very much like walking through the desert, knee-deep in sand; progress is slow, time-consuming, sometimes exhausting but the oasis is getting closer. Let's hope it's not a mirage.



Marksgran said…
I made the scary decision to delete every email I had in my folder recently and it felt so good to see it so empty! I went through them first and put the ones I needed to keep into separate folders and then I unsubscribed to as many as I could so its all much more managable now, until its not!
My hubby also called HMRC to find out if he still needed to do a tax return this week. He retired in 2020 properly but didn't inform HMRC and it wasn't clear on their website if he still needed to fill one in. He phoned and for once (very rare event!) got through almost immediately to a person who told him he didn't need to bother any longer. WOOHOO!!
I used to do paperwork for a living too, I didn't mind it then but now, not so much!
Sounds like you're getting there though, keep on keeping on!! Good luck.
Caree Risover said…
Yes, that Unsubscribe button is one of my favourites especially as I never recall subscribing in the first place. It would be excellent if HMRC could be persuaded to offer an Unsubscribe option too, but that’s probably hoping too much although congratulations to your hubby for achieving the same result.
Joanne C said…
This entry made me smile in the midst of tax preparation myself! Thank you for your gift of words - makes me realize how ordinary our words are here in the US!! Let's all keep our eyes on that oasis!!
Caree Risover said…
Thank you for the compliment Joanne. I’ve actually managed to submit my Tax Return and am getting closer to those palm trees.
Jan said…
I am working my way through my emails at the moment & unsubscribing from anything work related, facebook groups & twitter also. Looking forward to the day when that simplified retirement life becomes a reality.
Caree Risover said…
It’s hard going, isn’t it? Sometimes I do wonder if it is a reality or if we just learn to ignore it. Good luck with your tasks.
Treaders said…
I'm with you 100% on everything you wrote. The more I look at my "stuff", the more I realize it's just stuff so why am I keeping it? And as for the mental energy required, I have my French taxes to prepare, my son's US taxes AND I just received an email from the French regarding moving ahead with my citizenship request (only 30 months later)! While I am very organized it can all be truly draining can't it. Time to hit the unsubscribe button here too!
Caree Risover said…
Yes and I’m beginning to realise that sentimental items, stored for decades, are now of limited interest to me, so who am I even storing them for? As for the official admin: it can make me feel overwhelmed if I let it, but when I get my teeth into it, it’s rarely as bad as I feared although I reckon that every year my ability to cope with bureaucracy diminishes still further.

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