It took me awhile to find a picture of an office that looked worse than mine. Well, here it is. Luckily, mine wasn’t that bad, but it was getting there. It is truly amazing how quickly the junk piles up. Although I have my own office, it’s pretty small, and during the year, when I’m running programs for hundreds of people out of it, well, I get buried.
A few weeks ago, I really started getting frustrated with myself for letting it get this bad. I couldn’t find some things that I needed, and it took way too long to locate them. I decided that once classes were over, I’d get to cracking. Classes ended Thursday.
Unfortunately, today was an absolutely beautiful day here in Maryland. But, I made a commitment to myself, so around 9:00 this morning, I began. I didn’t finish up until about 6 pm, and there’s more to do. But, it felt fantastic to throw so much unneeded stuff into the recycling dumpster behind our building.
I don’t know why I kept so much outdated material. I guess it has to do with our culture. We keep thinking we’re going to have time to read this or that article or book, but the time never comes. The “when I have the chance” pile gets out of control. Maybe you’ve been there too?
They say that if you haven’t touched something for six months, you should throw it out. I think that’s going to be my new rule, except I want to expand it for the school year, so I’m going to give myself an extra three months. Going forward, I’m going to stand near a recycling bin when I look through my mail. I’ll keep only the most important things.
As I was cleaning, I had an interesting thought. I wonder if we keep things around to trick us into believing that things are what they represent. For instance, I had a picture one of the kids in Life Teen years ago, taken on a trip to Arizona. It was in this funny little teepee frame, and I think I kept it up on the shelf because of the frame. Well, there it sat, collecting dust. Ben has long since graduated from college and is now working for his dad in the plumbing business. I can remember that trip without the picture, thanks very much. The funny thing is, I have a far more meaningful group shot taken on the same trip. Ben’s teepee went into the trash and up when the group shot.
One is enough. That’s going to be a new motto for me. It seems like we have to have more and more to make us feel happy, but in some sense, doesn’t having all these things leave us even more frustrated and wanting more?
Even though I didn’t finish, I was pretty happy with myself when I walked out of the office. I’m going to be even happier when I get everything done tomorrow.
In the next several weeks, I’m going to have a new employee starting. I’m still not sure the person we’re going to select, but I’m already looking forward to meeting with him/her in my nice, clean, and organized office.
I’m moving ahead, focusing on the here and now, not so much about the past. I don’t need to keep all the old stuff around. Certain precious things, yes, by all means. Ten year old forms, books and magazines that I’ll never look at, no thanks. Off to be recycled into something better.
Don’t you just feel good thinking about it?