Letter to my 75 year old self: what I shall leave my children

Dear Maria,

I can imagine you have been busy these couple of decades and I hope that you have managed to get out and give back to life all that we dream of today. You probably remember that in August 2011 we went to Sofia; but not so much to enjoy the coffee bars and the parks, or to nip into the mountains as to deal with a matter we found really disturbing and are dreading at the moment. Our parents passed away and left an apartment in North Bulgaria, a summer house nearby and some prime agricultural land to us and to our sister. There is no immediate need to do anything about the summer house and the land but the apartment is another matter – we are going there later today to sort it out and get it ready to be sold.

Sorting it out means that we will have to decide what to do with the possessions our parents have accumulated through their lives – what we wish to keep, what we need to sell, what will have to be given away. We are dreading it – our mum’s belongings still holding her scent, our dad’s medals and parade uniform, the traces of their lives. We are dreading the shoe box full of old family photographs, the ghosts in the pictures, the memories of times together and regret that these times will never return. We are dreading the reality of death.

Apart from everything, we are apprehensive about the practical arrangements; about finding an estate agent, whether the apartment will sell, how long would this take, what shall we do with the money from it, are banks reliable enough to keep it there, is it better to wait for the property market to recover a bit. All these questions!

I am reminding you about all this because now, in this moment we made the decision that we will save our children this. That we will shrink our material possessions, particularly our real estate, in reverse proportion to our age – the older we get the smaller our real estate will get. We don’t want our children to have all the practical concerns we have today – this is why we will be minimalists. We will have enough clothes to be able to keep clean, we will rent a property large enough for us but not larger (don’t forget to automate the payments and leave a record of this), we will keep mostly things that are useful and couple of things we find beautiful.

Remember, it is time. Sell everything that can be sold, gift the rest. Buy three gold bullion bars, put them in a shoe box andkeep them under your bed. This will be our final joke – the boys will come to sort out our room. Imagine their faces when they see the shoe box under the bed. ‘No old family photographs’ – their minds are screaming. The box is too heavy for that. When they manage to get the shoebox out they open it and…there lie three golden bars. One each!

You still want to do it, don’t you?

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