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.