Downsize!

I don’t like the word, possibly because I heard it so often in 2016 when my house in North Massapequa was up for sale. I realize it was accurate, but I preferred to say “moving on.”

I rarely offer advice because I dislike receiving any, but I learned a great deal as I was leaving Long Island. After my husband died, I remained for eight years in the home we had shared for nearly five decades. I realized then it was time to relocate.

When you downsize, don’t call it that. It has a sad connotation. Say, “Making a change,” or other words with a positive sound.

Don’t worry about what you may need in your new destination. Amazon sells everything!

Pack only what you love, especially what you love the most:

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The madeleine pan. You will always meet a new friend who enjoys afternoon tea and homemade cookies.

Bring the remainder of the Grand Marnier. It is the secret ingredient when you make chocolate mousse.

Don’t forget the bottle of Chanel No. 5, even if it’s down to the dregs. It will open a portmanteau of treasured memories.

Take every one of the love letters. There is not a library in the world than can duplicate them.

The small green ceramic Christmas dish must be packed carefully. It is fragile, but a reminder and vital link to yesterday’s love.

Take the phone numbers, one and all. They are an easy connection to friendships that will be impossible to duplicate no matter where your travels take you.

Take every one of your cherished CDs, recordings and tapes. Your music will provide the yellow brick road of serenity and make the trip easier.

Don’t forget to include all of your favorite lipsticks, no matter their ages. Amazon doesn’t have absolutely everything.

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And remember, a new address doesn’t mean a new you.

The girl who tied a pink plaid taffeta ribbon around her ponytail still lives quietly in a corner of your heart.

The young woman who wrapped blue satin ribbon around the letters that arrived daily hasn’t gone far away. The letters came from a lover who eventually became my husband. They arrived daily the summer before our marriage while he was stationed in Washington, D.C.

The mother who treasured the ceramic dish a little boy made for her one Christmas still loves the grown-up son, even if he has forgotten.

And the woman who lived alone in an empty house, but always remembered the better days, will travel with you.

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Discard any old feuds, sad memories, controversies. They will only clutter your luggage. The joys and dreams and, of course, memories of laughter, are so much easier to carry.

Remember, this is just another ride on the carousel of life. Pack all the love along with all your other treasures, and embrace not only tomorrow, but memories of yesterday, too.

Anne Donlon Achenbach lives in Traverse City, Michigan.