I’ve made some great progress, this morning. I spent the last three hours going through my stand-up files and clearing them out, then dumping a whole bunch of old materials from my filing cabinets, and re-sorting the contents, so that the old stuff I am done with, is in a drawer far from view. I have a 4-drawer corner filing cabinet where I store all my old stuff, and I went through and cleared out a ton of old crap that was about 10 years old.
Looking through my existing “filing system” I am amazed that I have kept things together as well as I have over the years. Instead of filing papers in an existing folder and drawer, I started new folders in different drawers. And I have a number of of duplicate folders with important information in them, stashed here and there. Banking records. Tax records. Health records. Exactly the kinds of records I need to keep organized in one place… they are anything but.
However, now I have a much better sense for where everything goes, what I need to keep and what I can let go, and where the best place to store things is.
What strikes me the most is just how crazy it all is – a very, very poor use of space, and everything just kind of thrown around. It’s like I haven’t even been mentally present when putting things in “order”. I feel kind of developmentally delayed when I look at it all, to tell you the truth. And it depresses me a little bit, to think that’s how I did things for so many years.
Well, now that’s changing. And I am really motivated to put things in order, so I can really move forward with living my life, instead of shuffling through mounds of paper, and “filing” the same kinds of papers in different places, only to take up space and generally obstruct my life.
Looking over at my bookshelves, I see even more disorganization. I’ll need to do something about that, as well.
That pretty much says it all. Spring is up on us, and with it comes a certain urgency with me to clean house — to clear out all the leftovers from the past year that have nothing to do with me, any more, and really put my current interests and affairs in order.
I am making the somewhat radical decision today, to not file additional federal paperwork on a project I started up last year. The paperwork would be all about registering the intellectual property of my project, and it would ensure that I have the right to sue other people for stealing my ideas.
In theory, that sounds like a good plan. It protects my rights and makes it possible for me to profit from my inventiveness and creativity.
However, in practice, it’s not very workable. Say a big company comes along and likes my idea and decides to steal it. I would need to launch a big-ass legal action on them and be willing to go through all the drama around lawyers and court appearances and filings and whatnot. I’ve had enough of courts in my past several years, and the last thing I want — even if it’s to protect my intellectual territory — is to spend any more time in court or around lawyers.
Not only would I need the right legal help, but I’d also need the time and energy to pursue all recourses, and God only knows how long that would take, and how much energy it would demand. I just don’t have that kind of bandwidth available, and the stress of it… well, that’s just not worth it to me.
I’d much rather have a good and settled life that has a good balance between challenging work and having enough time to blog on the side. That’s what I really want — to refocus my energy and attention on TBI recovery solutions, and make a positive difference in people’s lives.
So, that’s what I’m going to do. My study is chock-full of all kinds of materials — some of it junk, some of it gold. I have a ton of old bills lying around in stacks on my two desks, and I have a bunch of unopened junk mail that I thought might be interesting… but hasn’t appealed to me enough to want to open it. I’m feeling a bit blocked in, to tell the truth, and I need to free up some space for the things that matter most to me:
Stress inoculation / hardiness development (strength and endurance training in all aspects of my life)
Learning new things and relearning old things I lost
Sharing what I’ve learned so that others can benefit as well
I have been thinking long and hard about what I want to do with myself and my life, lately. I have really thought hard about my Big Project from last year, and whether I need to continue it. As much as I want to follow through as planned, upon closer examination, I now realize how much time and energy it has consumed from me, and what a source of anxiety and worry and stress it has been for me. I really learned a lot from it, but in the end, it’s really not what I want to be doing with my life, so I’m letting it go.
And when I consciously let it go in my mind, I feel this enormous rush of relief that opens up all sorts of other possibilities for me.
Like another more technical project I had started about 5 years ago, which I let go because I was having so much trouble with the work involved in making it happen. It was a good project, and I hated having to let it go, but my brain just wasn’t up to it.
My brain was too scattered, to easily distracted by all sorts of peripheral details that had nothing to do with what was actually going on. I had trouble interacting with other people, because my moods were so crazy, I would get pretty aggressive with folks, and my anxiety was out of control. It’s kind of tough to lead a project and present yourself well, when you’re a heap of frazzled nerves and you’ve got hair-trigger reactiveness. Plus, the technology I needed just wasn’t there, yet, and because of that, there were a ton of legal and federal regulation issues that were insurmountable hurdles for me, at that place and time in my life.
Now, though, the technology has matured, and I want to re-start that project. It was a good one, and the initial version of the program I wrote actually helped me with my recovery a great deal. So, I want to re-start that and take it to the next level. I have had many good ideas for how to simplify it, over the past years, and I’m ready to start again.
Which is good.
And which is why I need to clean my study. All these books and papers and bills and leftovers… There’s just so much … stuff … that I haven’t used in years, and I’m probably not going to use again. At the same time, buried under that stuff is a lot of material that I need to excavate and restart, because that is what matters most to me, and that’s where my passion lies.
Moving forward is really as much about figuring out what you don’t want to do, as it is about figuring out what you do want to do. And making the choices to NOT move forward with certain things, and to clear the decks of all those things, is a major step towards making some real progress.
Spring is in the air. And it’s time to make a new start. The winter has been long and grueling, and I’ve learned a lot of good lessons.
Now it’s time to put those lessons into action… and move forward with the best of what I have.