Last January, my sister (who is far more organized and on top of things than I am) volunteered her time on a Saturday to be my moral support while I worked on cleaning out our office. By moral support, I mean that she helped me from getting too distracted, or rewarding thirty minutes of work with a three-hour “break”. And thanks to her guidance, one year ago, we had a functioning office where I could sit by the window and read, work on the computer, or clear out enough space on the desk to do some painting.
One year later, the reading chair has a two-foot-tall pile of books and random stuff on it, I choose to use my laptop in the living room, and while there technically is room to paint, the overall clutter and dust (oh, the dust…) makes it a less-than-inspiring space. About the dust- the office unfortunately also serves as the home for the litter boxes (joys of apartment living). Thus this room accumulates dust about 20 times faster than the rest of our apartment. I try to keep up with it, but once the chair got reclaimed as a clutter receptacle in the fall, there was less motivation to enter that room for any reason other than cleaning the litter boxes.
I really didn’t intend to tell you all that. This is not supposed to be about my disorganization and questionable cleaning skills.
What it is supposed to be about is the fact that I do enjoy office cleaning and organization because of all the fabulous things I find. Today I decided to make some effort to get the room back in order. So far, I have found the following:
- a lock that Nick gave me two years ago so that I could safely stow my laptop while at school. Only this past fall when I started teaching did I really feel a need for it, and of course at that point I could not find it. And somehow between now and then I created a false memory that Nick asked if he could use it for something. (I have no idea what. Sorry, Nick.)
- an X-acto knife that has been missing for several months but I gave up on because I created a false memory that Nick broke it and promised to buy me another one. (Seriously, Nick, I’m really sorry. Don’t worry, I didn’t hold it against you.)
- a book that one of my favorite friends gave me for Christmas several years ago. This wasn’t necessarily lost, but anytime something reminds me of Katie it makes me happy.
- a card that another friend/former coworker gave me when we were both leaving our jobs.
- a journal with two entries, presumably when I was wanting to start a new journal, perhaps one that focused more on personal growth instead of boyfriends. (Note- I have since returned to writing in the latter, about 4-5 times a year. I’m happy to say there is a good balance between talk about personal growth and husband, but not boyfriends.)
The first entry is from November 2006, just after I graduated with my masters degree in psychology, got my nose pierced, and started what would be almost nine months of temping in the legal department of a national food distributor while searching for a “real job”. The nose piercing lasted just about as long as the temp job- on the first day of orientation for my real job, I was quickly informed that the piercing had to go.
Anyway, this first entry is a list of goals, not unsimilar to about 100 lists I have made since then:
11/21/06 Things I Want to Work Toward:
- Painting on a regular basis (That coming year I definitely did. Since then… well, see above about the office.)
- Writing more often (Oh honey, I don’t think you meant scholarly papers, but yeah… you’re writing more often, trust me.)
- Reviewing Spanish (Does our honeymoon in Mexico count?)
- Finally reading the wine textbook I have (That hasn’t happened. I think it’s in a box in the basement. Also, you’ll be shocked to know that your wine consumption has decreased greatly.)
- Reading more. (Not always, but probably averaging more books/year now.)
- Taking care of myself: less time at the computer, more time outdoors or exercising; cooking more and eating less pre-prepared foods (Let’s start with the good news: cooking more and eating better? Yes, absolutely. Unless you’re talking about during finals. The computer vs. outdoors and exercise thing is still a constant challenge.)
- Starting to review for the GRE’s in case I want to take them next year (Well, you don’t take them until 2009, but I can tell you that you rocked them.)
- Continue expanding my social circle and maintain the positive friendships I have right now (Some of the friends are the same, some that seemed positive at the time really were not. And you’ve accumulated some amazing newer friends since then, too.)
The second, and final entry:
Enjoy right now. Enjoy having a job you don’t care about because it means you’re not tied down. You can take a day off in the middle of the week and sleep in, have a late lunch with a best friend and a bottle of wine.
(Yeah, that probably was not the best idea.)
Enjoy not feeling pressured to find someone to date and being content to be at home on a Saturday night. Enjoy knowing what’s ahead of you: A great job or an experience at another school;
(Done and done.)
A man (or a woman) who makes you forget the one who got away;
(Yes. Well, the man part. The woman part never happened, but nice to know I was open to possibilities.)
Fantastic trips and adventures that you can only imagine right now.
(Some, but still imagining others.)
Inevitably, there will be a time 5, 10, 20 years from now that you miss where you are in this moment. So enjoy it. Embrace the challenge (ok, fear) of barely living paycheck to paycheck. Embrace not having anyone else to worry about and getting to do exactly what you want to do. For the first time you’re checking off the things on your to-do list. And constantly finding new things to add.
It concludes with some cheesiness marveling about how it had been four years since I turned 21 and how time moves so quickly. Oh, 25-year-old Sarah, you have no clue. But despite that, you had some admirable ideas and aspirations. It’s good to see I haven’t let you down.