It’s amazing to me (yes, pun fully intended) how easily I can turn a blind eye to the clutter in my life.
Take, for instance, the table beside my bed. No, not a sweet little night table, the kind with a lamp and a stack of books – color coordinated! – and a ceramic animal. Oh, no.
Beside my bed right now, there is a folding banquet table – you know, one of those six-foot-long ones – covered in piles. (The table was set up a couple of months before the trip to hold boxes of stuff we were selling on eBay.)
Some of those piles have been there since before we left for the trip: important papers that need to go back to file, odds and ends that we considered bringing on the trip, stuff we had planned to sell on eBay but never did. Other piles came directly from our suitcases when we got home: the “triangle bag” that held all our little tools on the road (the sewing kits and tweezers and rubber bands and scissors and plastic cutlery), the zipper pouch filled with all our important documents, the stack of school books we brought along. Of course, I have added piles since we got home, too: bills and receipts and books and sewing stuff and CDs. Somehow, a computer ended up being plugged in and set up on the table, and there are piles under it and around it, as well.
Some of the stuff on the table is urgent. Of course, those action items are mixed in thoroughly with the mundane and the absurd. (Why do I have a sheet of stickers from Highlights magazine?)
Overlooking the mess on the table is causing me a great deal of stress right now. I want to attend to the paperwork that I have piled up there; I get really anxious if I think that there is the slightest possibility of a problem with my bills, and when one leaves home for six months, those kinds of little problems and misunderstandings inevitably come up. So why haven’t I tackled it? What is holding me back? Why have I basically ignored this horrific mess for the past 17 days?
Because I have gotten so used to it that I wasn’t really seeing it.
It’s such a joke, given that the table is beside my bed, the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see at night. But I had let it blend into the background. So many other places in the house have been screaming “Clean me! Clean me!” but not the table! It just silently beckons, asking me to pile it with more and more stuff. Sure, cleaning my bathroom was a good thing to do, but (beyond the sheer disgust factor of six months’ worth of dust), it really wasn’t urgent. Paperwork is serious business with a deadline.
I need to approach the Table of Despair with my eyes open and really look at the mess it has become. Then I need to tackle the stuff on the table in the same way you eat an elephant: one bite at a time. I need to choose a small pile each day and deal with it. It’s the only way; avoiding it sure hasn’t gotten me anywhere. Pretty soon, I’ll get through it. I will. I’ll repeat that mantra until I do.
Hopefully, sharing it with you and letting you see the real state of things here in my bedroom will inspire me to get started. Wish me luck.
I’m grateful that I did not fall asleep at work today. I woke up at 1:47 am and could not go back to sleep. I have barely stayed awake tonight until a decent hour – it’s almost eight! – but now I shall say good night!