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Perspective: Downsizing is torture

As you get older you finally reach that age when you are facing a wall.

A huge wall — all that stuff you accumulated over the years. The stuff your kids — and spouse — want you to toss away now so they don't have to later.

They call it clutter and strongly suggest downsizing, That's the nice word for gut-wrenching torture.

I speak from experience. I hauled three boxes from the basement and piece by piece the paperwork went into the blue recycle bin. Most of what I tossed came from my office when I retired, leaving behind a newsroom I managed for 30 years. That was nearly nine years ago.

I waded through folders, manuals, handouts and memos. So many lines highlighted in yellow. All of it was about making a better newspaper.

So many ideas and experiments and promises that seemed great at the time but then folded into new ideas later as part of constant change.

A much-needed reminder and appropriate farewell came from flipping through the paperwork. I guess I did more than sit in an office all day. An office that, ironically, displayed the same clutter I'm trashing.

Thirty years is a long time, until it's not, and you’re pulling it from a box. And it's not easy throwing away your history.

Remember that the next time you push Mom or Dad to tear down that wall. And maybe don't call it junk or clutter.

I’m Lonny Cain … and that’s my Perspective.

Lonny Cain, a graduate of the journalism program at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, has been in the newspaper business for more than 45 years. He and his wife have three sons. They live in Ottawa, where he was managing editor of the local daily newspaper for 30 years, retiring in December 2014. He continues to be a columnist for The Times in Ottawa and is pursuing other writing projects.