On death clutter…

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, given that my little family is a) going through a period where we wait to find out if/when/where we are moving next, b) have two girls who keep outgrowing clothes/toys/assumptions as fast as they can, and c) are still learning how to manage the time and projects and all things. I’ve had a number of friends who have spoken highly of various methods of decluttering and how they are awesome for your life – from KonMari to Swedish Death Metal Clutter Fire Purging … or whatever it is.

I thought about it. I looked at the mess that bugs me. I thought, maybe I should get rid of stuff. Then I realized, nah. I like my stuff. I like my furniture and my clothes and my books and my musical instruments and the various kitchen implements. I love the bits and bracs and knicks and knacks that remind us of loved ones and bygone experiences. When I start to get stressed, I do enjoy a good bit of organizing and cleaning and a dash of purging.

But really, what kills me is the time clutter.

Note to self, “Time Clutter” would be a good title for something. Try to remember it.

Okay, back on track. Time clutter. Yes. Those things that eke away at the time we have to spend on things that bring us joy. Things that steal the creative energy I need to write, or the happy energy and patience I need to be a good mom. The physical energy I need to go for that walk or do that yoga. Projects that I agree to that chip away, dividing the large chunks of time that help me dash out a chapter into smaller niblets of free space, not useful for much more than checking Facebook or reading a news article online.

And so, as I attempt to finish up a manuscript for an editing client, and work on some copy for a Web site client, clearing the road to NaNoWriMo and finishing the next book in the Rick Keller Project, I have started considering which projects ultimately bring me joy, and what do not.

Sometime this week, I will be revamping my Web site a bit to reflect my re-focusing away from editing, and working on adding more workshops to the coaching side of my biz. I love giving workshops, I love working one-on-one with writers, I love bringing them through a thorny problem and giving them the tools to make their writing better. This time spent gives me joy (and sometimes money), so I’ll keep it.

I’ll keep my writing. I love this time, and it’s healthy for me. Also, sometimes there’s money.

As much as I enjoyed my time with one of the local theater companies, I’ve left that project. It was taking away too much mental and creative energy from the two projects above, and I just didn’t love it enough. Clutter. Fun clutter, but not enough to stay.

I’ve engaged more with the Society for Creative Anachronism. The SCA is home to some amazing, creative people who feed the need for energy that comes from doing things outside the norm – but I can also use it to dovetail in the projects that I’m already working on, such as crafting, performing, giving classes, traveling, camping, drinking, wearing funny hats … okay, I’m getting off track here. But those hats sure are awesome.

I started fencing again. It’s only one hour a week, but it feeds the need to work out, and to pursue a martial art. I’m hoping to start fencing again in the SCA, but for now, these lessons are shaking the dust off.

There are a number of other smaller obligations, things here and there that have demanded my time and attention. Television shows. FB comment threads. Laundry.

Okay, I have figured out how to realistically avoid the laundry. But you get the point.

For my entire life, I’ve pretty much spent my time overcommitting, doing all the things, wishing I wasn’t doing all the things, flopping back onto my couch after doing all the things, feeling somewhat bored, and then overcommitting to doing all the things. I am pretty sure that this cycle will continue for many more years.

But perhaps, just once, I could look back and reflect on the fact that time, like space in a Manhattan apartment, is finite.  And so, at least in the amounts that we are given, sometimes it’s worth considering a moment to clear some of the clutter that steals what can’t be replaced.

Okay, I’m off to do all the things. Wish me luck!


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