Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Joy in the dust...

When I need to chew on a particular problem in my life, I often find I end up cleaning.  While my close friends will tell you that I clean all the time—don’t listen to them.  They’re lying!  No, really.  Contrary to popular belief, I don’t clean all the time.  In fact, my husband and son often complain I don’t clean enough.  Which brings me to today and the current problem on my mind, thus my latest round of obsessive thinking aka cleaning.

I have an antique bookcase that sits atop my desk and every time I dust it, I wonder why in the world I bought the old thing.  Why did I spend hours lovingly restoring something that gets so dusty in what seems like only a matter of days?   It’s that very question that brings me back to the problem at hand.

One of several bookcases in my studio.
In case you didn’t know, I’m a type A personality, a real “all the way A” as my dear husband likes to remind me.  And while many of the character traits of A’s are a very good thing, the easiest way to topple us isn’t to yell or move a deadline or double book us.  Ha!  We A’s can handle that.  Disable our Wi-Fi or hide our phone and we get a bit more upset, but trust me, we rebound fast.  In my experience, we A’s get our knees knocked out from under us when we find our lives out of balance.  We like the world just so and have a strong sense of order, we A’s; a trait not unlike our analytic brother’s in arms that find themselves on the other end of many a personality test scale. 

So when I say I’ve taken to calling 2015 the year without balance, you can probably understand my angst.  I pride myself on doing the things I undertake well so I’ll be the first to admit when issues arise within my finely honed system, I don’t respond with any amount of grace.  None.  But I’ll also be the first to admit that after forty five years of life on this planet, I think I’ve finally started to realize I don’t need to be doing everything I currently find myself doing.  It’s an A thing, you see.  We rarely say NO.  In my case, I usually pride myself on seeing just how much I can juggle.  But I can assure you this isn’t always the wisest plan.  And I can assure you juggling comes at a cost.

I've been locked in my juggler mentality throughout spring and summer.  It wasn’t until I started pulling out my fall decorations (of which I have five Rubbermaid containers full!), that I scanned the landscape of my life and looked at everything I was juggling and realized where I was coming up short.  The more I cleaned around the house, switching out summer items for fall favorites, the more I reflected on what’s been a hectic and stressful year.  Then a revelation washed over me.  I really don’t like juggling.  In fact, as of late I feel most at peace NOT tossing five plates into the air and seeing how fast they can turn.  Truth is, I never set out to become a world-class juggler.

For me fall is a time of renewal and new beginnings.  While some folks enjoy a good spring-cleaning, a fall cleaning energizes me.  This year the purge included tidying extraneous responsibilities and trimming my ever-growing to-do list.  Seriously, some of the stuff I have written in blood so to speak really just isn’t that important.  I have books to write and new ventures to launch and antiques to refinish.  I have a family I adore and I’m grateful I’ve finally realized they’re far too precious to juggle.  I have friends I cherish and I’ve realized they aren’t for tossing about, either.  At best, I think I’m in for juggling as a hobby.  Besides, I have a bookcase to dust.

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