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Senior Correspondent

Fire Sale

Fire Sale

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“I’ve got to move those sofas. I’ve got to move those beds. Everything’s gotta go!”

It was 1978 and Dan Ackroyd of Saturday Night Live was performing right in front of me. To me! We sat together at The Lone Star café in Manhattan. I just happened to sit down ahead of time for lunch. He and John Belushi came in, and the long table stationed Ackroyd across from me as he tried to save some seats for his buddies who had not arrived. 

We began talking and he asked me what my Dad did in my hometown in Texas. When I said my Dad had a furniture store, Ackroyd launched into this amazing character voice of a salesman at a Fire Sale. A Fire Sale is for retail goods that have suffered smoke damage or are partially toasted but still sellable — one way of letting go.  

Tragedies of being in the hospital room with each of my parents at the moment of their death was a tough way of letting go. Putting my favorite dog down of 12 years was also a heart crusher. So death has played a part in my letting go. 

Divorce and seeing my children go through it was another horror. 

Various sundries of punch drunk smacks to psyche and the heart in life’s boxing ring have occurred. Overall however I feel I’ve been very lucky and blessed. I was encouraged early in my life to get up as fast as I could off the canvass.  

Today I try to see the act of letting go as more like a "positive surrender.” It’s not that I dismiss an emotional gut punch, but now more than ever I’ve learned a wee bit about how to better manage my expectations. A daughter out of the loop of communication. That hurts but I’m working with it. Moving into a new marriage. And one of my daughters is getting married in January. That’s promising. 

Now I face another letting go, size extra-large. Dialing down my branding practice. And moving into my work in communicating about aging. Finding a way that this passion can fund itself. This challenge has a lot to do with fear of letting go.  

So how do you shield yourself from the bad side of letting go? I love looking for new credos to adopt as I move forward in life. Here’s one I particularly like by Catherine Bew: “Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting.” Also George Harrison’s singing, “No matter where you are going, any road will take you there.” 

And one final one. It’s not exactly a credo, but it does portend that you need to know there are surprises in where life takes you. 

A man came to see my Dad about re-negotiating a finance plan on some furniture he purchased. “Mr. Kamin, I need to work something out on that money I owe on the dinette table, chair and mattress. You see, Mr. Kamin, I’m in the Navy and they want to send me to Crete. I don’t know where that Crete is. And more importantly my wife and kids didn’t expect me to be shipped out either. On top of that, Mr. Kamin, I got problems I haven’t even used yet.”   

Thinking about that story makes me mindful each day. To constantly take the time to really search my thoughts for the feeling of gratitude. 

Physically I move my hands, arms and legs through the air and cheer in a surge of how grateful I am for this time and what’s up ahead. When I hit it right, it’s like being on fire, in a good way. 

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