Clearing the decks

Time to get all that old stuff out of the way
Time to get all that old stuff out of the way

Okay, I have my plan. This weekend, while I’m flying solo, I’m going to clear out a bunch of spaces that have been cluttered and crammed full of old stuff… for years. I’m starting with my garage, and continuing on to the basement.

I’m also going to clean out my study – just remove everything from all surfaces, wipe everything down, and then judiciously restore what I actually want to keep within view. I should probably pick up some shelving, while I’m at it. I’m comparing my choices on Amazon and the local big-box home improvements store, and it actually looks like I can get a better deal at the local store.

So, I don’t have to wait. I can just stop off on my way home from work tomorrow and pick up a bunch of shelves to use. Sweet.

I’m pretty excited about this. I have three days total to get things in order, and it’s way overdue. I haven’t been able to get my act together — I’ve been too focused on too many different things that had nothing to do with each other… too scattered… and too tired… Meanwhile, everything has piled up around me. It’s not as bad as that Hoarders show, but it’s not as I want it to be.

And I’m sure this will bring up a lot of emotion with me, while I’m uncovering relics from my chaotic past. One of the benefits of my TBI issues, is that I can keep my attention focused intently on what’s in front of me at the moment, so I don’t have a lot of emotions and internal drama playing out from other times and places and contexts. I can be squarely in the moment and have no thought for anything other than what’s in front of me. It’s not that I’m “compartmentalizing” and blocking other things out from self-defense. I simply need to focus fully on one aspect of many, many aspects of my life, so I can take care of it.

And then I can move on to other things.

It’s not that I’m blocking out parts of my life because I’m afraid of them. I just don’t have the bandwidth. But then things get cluttered, because I lose focus on one thing and hyper-focus on something else. And then I end up with a lot of half-finished ideas and priorities that pile up around me and block my proverbial view of the world around me.

So, this weekend, it’s time to clear out a lot of the stuff. Just clear it away and be done with that. I have to find some books I put away. I also need to rearrange my bookshelves so that I have more room. And I need to make some decisions about what I really need in my life. I’ll need to catalog everything I’m putting away, because if it’s not in front of me, I forget it exists. So, I need a directory of sorts to remind me where things are. And I need to put that directory in a place where I can see it and remember to consult it.

Exciting times, to be sure.  T-30 hours till the rearranging kicks off.

Onward.

Cleaning up my act, uncovering potential

Sort of how my space looks - better in some ways, worse in others
Sort of how my space looks – better in some ways, worse in others

I’m entering week 4 on the new job, and it’s been going well. I’m settled in there, and I’m adjusting to the new schedule pretty well. It’s taking a lot more out of me than I would like, but that’s a combination of the commute and the nature of the work. It’s a very social workplace, which is a huge challenge for me. I prefer to tuck myself away in a corner and noodle on problems, but the whole new job thing is really structured around interacting with a lot of people to solve problems together.

So, it’s good practice for me. Keeping to myself tends to get me down, in any case.

I find myself and my priorities really changing dramatically. I have let go of a lot of the old projects I had waiting in the wings for so long. All in all, I had over 5 different mega-projects that I was actively working on. I was making good progress, too. But now they just don’t matter to me as much, anymore. I think it’s a result of now doing work that actually interests me and is a good match for my personality and skills. All the crap-jobs I’ve had over the years that never challenged me or made the most of my abilities necessitated me looking elsewhere for satisfaction and fulfillment.

I simply could not keep my spirit alive, doing those past jobs without plenty of side projects.

Now, however, I am suddenly feeling no interest at all in those mega-projects. I have pretty much lost interest in them, and all I really want to do now is focus on my day-job, take care of things at home, and live a simple, uncomplicated life.

What a change this is.

And I look around my house and see that I really need to get my act together. Some rooms look like a herd of water buffalo have stampeded through and churned everything up. I’ve got “stuff” from multiple projects lying around in piles, and leftovers from various endeavors scattered about in general disarray.

Precious little of it interests me, anymore, and I really need to clear it up.

I’ve been needing to do this for quite some time, actually. I just couldn’t figure out where and how to start.  Getting started (initiation) tends to be a big problem for me. I get stuck on the simplest things… and then I get down on myself for not being able to start.

But start, I must.  Just dig in, somewhere, and make a start. I have a whole 4-drawer filing cabinet in the corner of my office, just waiting for me to fill it with crap. Some of the drawers are mostly empty, too. But I’ve been stuck. Just looking at the filing cabinet makes me anxious. What if I can’t finish? What if I get turned around and confused, and the end result is worse than when I started? How do I handle this? What can I do?  It’s frustrating and confusing… so I end up doing nothing.

Plus, in the rest of my life, there are a ton of leftovers that are making my life more complex than need be. My winter cleanup clothes from six months ago are still hanging on the backs of dining room chairs. And there are all kinds of boxes from things that came in the mail, just lying around. Birthday and Christmas presents are still sitting in the living room in their gift bags.

Clearly, I need to take some initiative. It doesn’t help that my spouse is declining cognitively, and they add to the problems by just tossing stuff around (their post-stroke, diabetes-influenced issues with initiation and executive function make my challenges look like child’s play – but that’s another post for another time).

And now that fall is fast approaching, I don’t really have much excuse for not sorting things out. It’s fall cleaning time. And magically I am finding more interest and more opportunity for tending to business at hand. The enduring, years-long obsessions with those mega-projects has flown out the window. I frankly don’t give a damn, anymore. They were just windmills I was tilting at for no good reason other than to soothe my anxiety, and now that I’ve got a real job that really uses my skills and abilities, I don’t need them, anymore. They served their purpose.

And it’s time to clear them away.

For good.

There is literally so much stuff in my house that needs to be organized, that some rooms are bordering on hoarder status. Then again, they’re not. We don’t have  piles and piles of crap we never needed and will never use again, that we collected due to severe mental illness or profound impairment. We have piles of crap that is/was useful, and is just poorly organized.

And that’s fixable.

So, right now, as I stand up and get ready for my Sunday morning walk in the woods, I’ll grab just a few things to move to where they really belong. A little work can go a long way, and each day, I can do something that will help. It doesn’t have to be “big bang” to work. Little “bangs” will work just fine.

The space that gets cleared, will make room for more space — different activities — a simpler life. That, in itself, is well worth the momentary confusion and disorientation. The anxiety will work itself out.

And so it goes.

Onward.