Normally, I save my "turning over a new leaf" phases for January, when everyone else is in the spirit of setting goals and making changes and bettering himself. However, I guess November will be just as good a month for a personal revolution, since it is our beloved National Blog Posting Month. I will not be writing about this every day, but it'll be a good topic to jump-start a month of daily posting.
Recently, I received a bit of a wake-up call because of an ill-handled situation in the workplace, and at the end of it all, I was left with a lot of lemons and a recipe for lemonade. I realized that it was time to stop complaining about all the nuisances in life—big or small—and to start being active in dealing with them.
As a result, I found myself on Unclutterer.com, reading about ways to deal with excessive amounts of paperwork. The stacks of bills and class notes and sheet music that have been collecting in bins and drawers and stacks on my bedroom floor have nothing to do with this situation at work, but tripping over them when I was already in a foul mood was the final straw. I decided that the first step to getting my life and my priorities in order was to rid myself of distractions, including my perpetually messy room.
In my heart of hearts, I am the biggest neat freak you have ever met. I have been alphabetizing my books since I could read (which was at the tender age of two-and-a-half), color-coordinating my closet since I was tall enough to reach the hangers, and [assembling] my Christmas wishlist from the Office Depot catalogue since the time I started school. When I first discovered IKEA and the Container Store (and the fact that they are located within spitting distance from each other), I wept. However, my room is one place where my perfectionism becomes my own enemy, where I decide that if I don't have time to do it right then I shouldn't do it at all. But no more!
When I popped onto the Unclutterer.com website, I started reading the most current post and worked my way through the archives at an unhealthy rate. I devoured all the tips for my paper clutter (the family scanner has never seen so much attention in its dusty little life) and was pleasantly surprised to find some new ideas for managing the files on my computer.
But what truly shocked me was an idea that is mentioned over and over again in the Unclutterer.com articles—the idea of truly decluttering your life. That extends beyond the realm of getting rid of unnecessary objects in your bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen. It involves more than just sorting and purging and filing. The people who write these articles have decluttered their rooms, their schedules, and their priorities, so that in the end they have the space and the time and the energy to focus on whatever matters most to them. I cannot tell you how amazing that sounds.
For a really long time, I have been letting life happen to me and feeling helpless to change its direction. What a waste! I have so many things I really want to do that I will never be able to do unless I truly focus on them and let go of the less important things. I'm still working on the stacks of paperwork on the floor because I know I won't be able to concentrate until there is a place for everything and everything is in its place. But while I'm doing that, I'm taking notes on things I want to do (travel! write! dance! start a podcast!) and ways to make those things realities. I'm forming my biggest goals and deciding which ones are most important to me. I'm taking inventory of all the things that consume my time and energy and cutting out the ones that aren't moving me in the right direction.
And at the end of each day, I am excited to go to bed simply because I cannot wait to start that all over again.
Man, it feels good to be this alive.