One of the most devastating moments of my life was when my grandparents’ house was sold. If I’d had the money at the time, I would have bought it to keep it in the family. But of course, with time and perspective, keeping the house would have served no purpose; it was not needed and it might even have become a burden, dealing with renters, or with repairs if left empty. Clinging to the house was purely wanting to cling to the memories of times in the house with my grandparents.

On My Knees

About 11 years ago, my dad announced to us that he was going to be selling his lake home. I had fallen in love with the lake and tried to spend all summer there when possible. My kids have spent every summer of their lives in that house. Therefore it was my hope to keep the house in the family for generations to come. I can remember even praying that I could make enough money and find a way to keep it so he did not have to sell. But he was never really very serious about selling it, or he would have put a price on it that would have sold. In reality, he would only have sold it if he got a super-high price, and I did not have the financial ability to buy it. Reasonable offers were turned down, and the house never did sell. But three summers ago, my family let go, deciding to build our own life in our own place on a nearby lake.

New Owners

After my dad passed this spring, my family unanimously decided to stay in our own lake home instead of moving back into his, so we put his home up for auction and spent several weeks making the house ready to show. We did some painting and repairs and added a lot of new appliances (my wife did most of the work because I still work full days). Two weeks ago, my dad’s house was sold, and this coming week, the sale will close and it will become the home of the new owners. And, other than the two weeks of cleaning attics, garages, and going through 30-plus years of stuff, we’re ready to say farewell.

Being a Cling-On

The lesson for me is that clinging to something just because of memories is not always the best solution. Though filled with memories of family events and summers with family members present, it’s not the house that made it a home, it was the presence of my dad and his positive spirit. Today, it’s an empty shell awaiting a new family and their own memories. 

What about you? What are you clinging to that isn’t serving you well?

You Might Need It Someday

My dad, being a Depression-era child, never threw anything out. In the last two weeks I’ve touched every single paper, every box, every item inside his home, most of which he had not touched or seen in 30 years. How did that serve him? I daresay it caused more stress, knowing that someday he or someone else would have to deal with it. I think we filled up 32 dumpsters, and that doesn’t include everything removed to be put up for auction. Though I’m happy to serve my dad and my brothers, it would have been nicer if he had dealt with those things years earlier. And it’s a reminder that I’ve done the same thing. I still have my saxophone from high school and a garage full of memories I never see. Why?

The last thing I wanted to do this spring and summer was clean out houses, storage units, attics, and closets. Because of deadlines, I was forced to deal with it. Unlike my packed garage at home where I’ve not been forced to deal with it, and I dread ever having to move. It causes stress, and it’s something I need to carve out the time to deal with. 

What are you not dealing with?

What things cause you stress, knowing they are looming?

How would you feel if you got those things off your plate this month?

As we enter the fourth quarter, let’s use it for cleansing our minds of the clutter we’re clinging to so we can enter 2022 with a clean slate. 

Eric Rhoads

PS: Speaking of 2022, this week I had my executive team up to the lake for a few days of planning 2022. We’re not waiting till the last minute, we’re making a plan now. Creating strategy, dreaming, budgeting, and trying to think ahead so we’re ready to hit the ground running in the new year. It may be something you should be considering now too.

I was due to leave for Russia next week, for two weeks of touring and painting, but sadly, I postponed the trip because of the state of the world at the moment. I had to disappoint a lot of people, and of course I’ll lose the income. But since I was going to be away, I’ve decided to take those two weeks off to recover from a summer of cleaning out closets and attics and the stress of getting the house ready. If I’m here next week, it will probably be a “best of,” and I’ll also be skipping my noon daily broadcasts. Thanks for your patience.

I should mention that we have signed some giant names to our Realism Live virtual conference, and we’ve seen a massive number of people sign up in the last two weeks. It promises to be spectacular for you and your artwork. I hope you’ll consider it.

Once vacation is over, I’ll be at my Fall Color Week painters’ retreat here in the Adirondacks. There is still room for you. Come paint with us.

Happy Labor Day!!