Friday, June 8, 2012

Productive Procrastination

Those in the #LUBlogTribe, or friends who regularly see me post on Twitter/Facebook may be wondering if I'm doing OK. I've been in a sort of radio silence for the past couple of days as I work on some very messy, detailed, long overdue organizing of my home. I'm purging every room, closet, storage area, nook, and cranny as a way of preparing for a job shift at work.

The job shift is something I've known about since last December. It's been a long process, but I still can't write too much about it now. There are many details that still have to be worked out with the transition. I have been thinking about these changes- perhaps too much. I know things will all be fine; but until I settle in the next phase, there's much to plan so that the new position comes with reasonable expectations of actually getting things done. My own expectations, that is.

I also need to stay home bound while the kids are in between school and summer program for the next week. What better time to purge than now?

I tend to dive into new tasks with a flurry, upset every order, and then poop out before I finish. If I actually finish a goal, there's recovery time. This process usually applies to major home modifications, yard work, or worse, moving into a new home.

I've been reading some student and young alumni blogs about moving and setting up their new personal space. It makes me a little nostalgic worrying about moving into a new dorm room or apartment. When I first went to college, all of my stuff fit into a compact car with room for me and my mom. Each time I had to leave a dorm room, all of my stuff would need to be moved - therefore purging just became part of life. I delighted in claiming my space; my little bit of domestic bliss.

Then I had my first apartment. My senior year at college, I was able to negotiate off campus housing and lived above a restaurant on College avenue. I think it was called "the Casbah." Whatever it was, it's closed now. I know there was live music and the ever present smell of bacon.... (like I said before, college reunion coming up)

I'm not sure what my reasons were for *needing* to live off campus, but I'm sure they were silly. I should have stayed in the dorm. Right after commencement (which was 100 degrees in the shade), my mom and siblings had to help me move out. It was a mess. I had too much stuff that just had to be dumped; notebooks, mattress, meaningful bits that meant enough to hold on to it for a time. I've never been a clothes horse, but there's just something about life that adds crap to your possessions. All of the crap needed to go. It wasn't going to replace the emptiness I was feeling, leaving my friends and the campus that meant so much. I had changed so much in those four years. I made great friends, huge mistakes, and learned enough about who I wasn't going to be - but I still had to figure out what I was really going to do with my life. The random objects weren't going to give me direction.

I only had seven weeks before I started a master's program in Ohio. In that very short summer, I went home to get my wisdom teeth pulled, and then spent a few weeks performing in Birch Creek Music Festival. Oh yes, and both of my brothers got married that summer. One in August, the other in September - six weeks apart from each other. (I think that's right; another blur of my life then)

Oh my gosh, my poor mom. (yes, another "a ha" moment of how much crap she had to deal with. The summer of 1987 must have been pretty tough on her)

As I packed the Chevy Citation to move myself to Bowing Green, OH, I once again found a need to purge - and I also became a really good packer.

Twenty-five years later, I find myself purging as if I need to move out of the country. I've made a list of areas to tackle one at a time. Yesterday, I got through a big one; the room on the other side of the laundry room. It's a kind of walk in closet that could be made into an office. I pulled everything out into the family room and sorted for 8 hours. All the office supplies, craft supplies, photos and sewing projects are identified. Here's the rub:

I'm now so obsessed with organizing the office supplies that every time I see a rogue paper clip, I stop what I'm doing and put it in the new office. It also took me ten minutes to brush my teeth this morning - or I should say, I had the toothbrush in my mouth for ten minutes as I kept finding random bits in other places of the house.

I know this about my work habits:

If there's something I need to do, and know that it will take a huge effort to do it, I will find something else to keep me busy enough so that I can't do the thing I really need to do. Which of course, is nonsense because I end up doing the distracting then on top of the thing I should be doing in the first place. The distracting activity is noble; not lazy

Steve first called me on it when I was supposed to be studying for doctoral comprehensives, and I just couldn't because the toilet needed cleaning and I really, really needed to bake cookies.


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