Taste The Sweetness of Life – a WQW Challenge

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Marsha Ingrao at Always Write is the host of WQW (Writers Quote Wednesday). This week the subject she has suggested for us to write about is Taste – as in one of the five senses. Please visit the link to read her post and others who have joined in the fun.

Taste

Taste is defined as a sensation of flavor and has seven basic descriptors; sweet, sour, salty, bitter, meaty, hot, and cold. When you think about it, those descriptions sound a lot like conditions in our ever-changing lives. Life runs hot and cold, it is often sweet, sometimes sour, and bitterness has a way of creeping in if we are not watchful. Strong, respected people are even described as being ‘worth their salt.’ I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine a life without flavor.

“Life is short, it’s up to you to make it sweet” Sarah Delaney

One thing that infuses an abundance of flavor into our lives is change. In his book ‘Who Moved My Cheese’, Spencer Johnson used cheese as a metaphor for the things in life you want that make you happy. Our cheese is constantly moving and how we respond to that is what ultimately makes the difference.

Who Moved My Cheese

I read ‘Who Moved My Cheese’ in 1998 when it was first published. The basic message of the book is to make decisions, even uncomfortable ones, and don’t be stymied by fear of change.

In the book, two mice and two small humans live in a maze. Their food source – cheese, begins to dwindle, so the two small humans head out each day in search of new cheese. They have anticipated the end of their cheese and are being proactive about finding new cheese. However, the two mice fret and complain, lamenting about the unfairness of it all, watching their cheese dwindle away while doing nothing to improve their situation. One day the two small humans don’t return from their exploration. They have found new cheese and are happy and contented in their new location. Eventually, after expending a lot of energy, feeling defeated, and placing blame, the two mice who hung back in hopes that the cheese would magically return make a decision to venture into the maze and look for new cheese. You can imagine how that turned out for them. Or, just read the book.

Photo by NastyaSensei on Pexels.com

“Being in the uncomfortable zone is much better than staying in the cheese-less situation”. Spencer Johnson, Who Moved My Cheese

Change

Malcolm and I approach change differently. He frets and worries and weighs every possible outcome while I consider the worst that could happen and throw caution to the wind. Neither method is particularly advisable, but we balance each other well and eventually get to the same place. For what it is worth, I do sleep a lot better than Malcolm. Just sayin’.

This past July when a neighborhood Realtor approached us to sell our home, I got on board immediately. It was something I had wanted for several years. The house was too big, too old, and a maintenance nightmare for two people who love to travel. Downsizing had always been a goal, we just hadn’t fully committed to when that would happen. Our home was a symbol of security for both of us (our cheese) and enabled us to live a comfortable lifestyle.

The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese. SJ

It was a scary decision, but in the end, we both knew that selling was the right thing to do. Since then we have been living with Malcolm’s mom, in her very comfortable home, which happens to be in the same neighborhood where our home was. We have divided our time here with frequent road trips and a one-month stay at our local beach to explore island living. There have been adjustments, (on both sides) and things have gone as well as expected while sharing living space with a fiercely independent 92-year-old. But, delaying a decision, or making none at all will not move us closer to finding new cheese. It is time to set off, into the maze.

“Smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old.” SJ

With no clear path on the horizon to owning the home of our dreams, we have reconsidered what this transition should look like and have extended our forecast. In other words, we have adjusted our expectations. Our new direction includes leasing an apartment for a year. We have signed a lease and will move into our new home in mid-April. While the smaller footprint will not accommodate all of our things, it will enable a much fuller, uncompromised life.

“Movement in a new direction helps find new cheese.” SJ

Cheese Doesn’t Last Forever

This move will not be permanent and only time will tell if it was the right thing to do, but we are excited about the possibilities. Of course, we will continue to refine our thoughts about the future and be on the lookout for the right opportunity. The new apartment complex (still under construction as of this post) is in a great location and proximity to our small downtown area, the beach, and my MIL’s home. It is not ideal, but is anything ever? We are certain that we will know when it is time to explore the maze and move on.

A Few Parting Thoughts

Not much in our world is as it should be right now, but getting a grip on one thing at a time helps.

  • change happens
  • be adaptable
  • complaining won’t improve things
  • be proactive and anticipate opportunities that change can produce
  • quick adaptation leads to satisfaction
  • don’t be afraid to take the next bite of life – it could be the sweetest of all

“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. When life is bitter, say thank you and grow”. Shauna Niequist

Sharing with Natalie’s Weekend Coffee Share

43 thoughts on “Taste The Sweetness of Life – a WQW Challenge

  1. Nancy Dobbins

    Change is the only thing that remains the same. As it turns out, we ar moving too, in mid April, but only next door. Our neighbor’s home here in FL unexpectedly came available…we’ve always loved it and it’s larger size will make staying more months in the south more comfortable…so we are anticipating we will spend the majority of our year there and will become Florida residents. Who knew? You and I will both be exploring this next step. BTW, we read Who Moved My Cheese in my school district years ago as a way to help us all embrace the onslaught of change in education and teaching. I remember it well.
    BTW, I neglected my blog too long and it has lapsed…so I’m no longer the author of an online story. But I love reading yours, so I’ll look for you in my inbox with anticipation. Will be thinking of you and Malcolm in mid April…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nancy, congratulations on your new home. Florida isn’t a bad place to take up residence. Sorry your blog lapsed. Maybe one day you will begin anew. In the meanwhile, thanks for stopping by and keeping up with us. It is always nice to hear from you.

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  2. Hi Suzanne – I think you’ve made the perfect choice – a commitment without a full-on commitment. Sort of a nibble of the future cheese to see if it’s the right flavour. Downsizing is something we’ll all be doing eventually – but it’s a big step and a huge adjustment (reality vs the dream) and I think you’re making a great choice to try it out and to give yourself some autonomy and breathing room. I’m really excited to follow your journey 🙂

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  3. I read that book but had forgotten all about it, so thank you for the reminder. I used to recommend to staff in my team at work when we were going through difficult times. I especially like the quote ‘The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese’. Good luck with the next phase of downsizing!

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  4. Tamara R

    Suzanne, I love that you embraced the opportunity to sell your home when it arose, in order to embrace the unknown. That took courage, and more than a little.

    One thought I hold onto when stuck in fear about making a change, is that you can almost always return to where you started if the change doesn’t work out. Meaning very few decisions in life are so significant that there can be no return. Try it, and if it doesn’t work out, well at least you now know and can let go of the ‘What if’ agony.

    But I’m sure your change is working for you both, and how exciting! Over here, I’m feeling the pull of changing things up as well. I started sailing lessons, which has started all sorts of thoughts beginning to percolate. Hmmm!

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    1. Tamara, it is so good to hear from you. I’ve missed knowing what you guys are up to. Hope all is well. I pass by our sailing center weekly and have considered lessons, but have never committed to the idea. Good for you. Maybe you will buy a sailboat and spend winters in the Bahamas!!

      As to our changes, if it were entirely up to Malcolm, we would never have left Ft. Lauderdale to move here twenty years ago. I, on the other hand, can’t imagine a bland life of same, same, every day and need to experience change from time to time. You are so right that if things don’t work, you can always turn around. I hope that we will look back and see this as perfect timing for the next adventure.

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  5. Suzanne,
    Change can evolve over time, or, it can happen in an instant (as we learned last month). You’ll appreciate the time you’ve given yourselves to review the options before making the “big” change. We’re so glad we have that decision behind us. Here’s to wishing that apartment life works out well for you both. Joe

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  6. How exciting, Suzanne!! I love that you embrace change and don’t allow yourself to be stuck in a situation that isn’t in alignment with what you want now in your life. I’ve made plenty of big life changes, too, and even though I feel afraid (truly, who isn’t afraid of big life changes?) I reassure myself that if it doesn’t work out, I can make another change. But it’s interesting in looking back over my life that every change seems to have worked out for the best. Your new apartment sounds like it’s in a wonderful location. And it’s always good to have your own space. 🙂

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    1. Laurel, we are just happy that the apartment is new and has a decent kitchen! It seems like the right thing to do right now, but who knows what life will look like a year from now. Knowing myself very well, I will probably be biting at the bit to shake things up again!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. There is so much wisdom in this post. I am moving later this year as well, to an even smaller space than my current one (which is already half the size of the home I left in Ontario).
    There is so much freedom to be found in downsizing and “curating” your things so 1) your home only holds your most treasured, “joy-sparking” items, and 2) caretaking less stuff/property means more time for enjoyment of the non-tangibles, like travel and making memories.
    The good, the bad, and the ugly – it’s good to remember that change is constant, and “this too shall pass”.
    I especially like that you pointed out that no living situation is ideal…but that you can adapt and make the most of wherever you are.
    Thanks Suzanne!

    Deb

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    1. Thank you, Deb. Freedom is the perfect word to describe this latest adjustment. I like the idea of paring down to ‘joy-sparking’ items. Unfortunately, Malcolm thinks everything in the kitchen is a ‘treasured’ item. Good luck with your next move. Make sure you have room for the new air-fryer!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, exciting changes ahead for you! We talk about downsizing now and then but a few things – such as a spectacular view – keep us in our home. It’s hard to imagine a better place to live weather-wise, but it would be nice to live somewhere less crowded. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your new adventure!

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  9. Suzanne, I remember Who Moved My Cheese. Your apartment leasing in a great location sounds like a very good plan. One year goes by fast, at the same time it gives you a base to plan your next move/ adventure. Your parting thoughts are full of wisdom. Thank you for linking up with #weekendcoffeeshare.

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  10. My husband read Who Moved My Cheese and recommended it to many of his business associates. We’ve moved about a dozen times but our present home is one of the smallest and one of only 50 in our gated community. It does give us the freedom to travel at a moments notice. It sounds like your move will be an experiment in a new way of living. Sharing a home, while convenient, has to have been a real adjustment for everyone.

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  11. It was interesting how you moved from taste to cheese to renting an apartment.

    I had a friend who rented an apartment for a couple of years between houses – she used that time to live in a completely new setting – downtown living! I think it might be a fun opportunity.

    I do hope however that your “dream home” comes to fruition for you.

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    1. Hi Pat, it is interesting how the concept of ‘dream home’ changes over time. What we wanted a year ago doesn’t have the same appeal today. Who knows what it will look like next year. We will keep sifting and refining until we sort it out. I am just grateful to have this opportunity to explore.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just visited with friends who bought and are renovating their ‘age in place’ home. And while it’s lovely and I’d adore having their kitchen, I could not see me living in the space or location! Even this house we are in I’m saying it’s right for us at this time…but maybe not 8-10 years from now! I think it’s wonderful you’re giving yourself time to explore things.

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      2. Pat, that is exactly why we are taking it slow. The next time we sink money into a home it will be after a full evaluation of everything we both think we will need to create comfort and sustain our contentment long-term. We both want that move to be for the long run.

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  12. Suzanne, I’m so impressed that you remember the book in such detail. We read it when it first came out, too. I had just started a new job as an educational consultant. Our new boss assigned new books to read every so often and then we would discuss them in our monthly meetings. We all looked forward to the discussions so much. This was one of the best. I’m happy about your new adventure. We embarked on ours a year ago, and it’s been a good move for us. I have a feeling that with your attitudes, yours will turn out so well also. I’ll look for more reports as you settle in and make further decisions.

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  13. Pingback: WQW #40: St. Patrick’s Day Green – Marsha Ingrao – Always Write

  14. Christie Hawkes

    Change is inevitable. What is optional is how you react to change and proactively making change happen. It sounds like you and your husband are making change happen. I hope you find the home that is perfect for you, and that you enjoy the process of discovery. I remember the title of the book you mentioned, and was thinking I had read it. But after reading your description, I’m not sure I have. Perhaps I should.

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  15. Hi Suzanne! I enjoyed that book “Who Moved My Cheese” years ago too. I LOVE the simple but profound message about being open to change. And yes, change is inevitable and I think we KNOW that but it doesn’t always make it easy, right? I’m sure your new adventure will turn out wonderful in so many ways. But it isn’t the “end step” right? I think so many times I’ve resisted change is because I forget that it is merely just another step on the path. If and when a new pivot comes along it will be time to change again. I hope your new packing and move goes smoothly and am looking forward to hearing what happens next! ~Kathy

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  16. I enjoyed your post…Ive never thought of the descriptor “meaty”. Interesting. Okay, now I might need to look up that book. It sounds interesting. I love that quote at the very end. So good. Way to stop out in a new adventure!

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