A million years ago, my friend told me that when her closets were in order, she felt like the rest of her life was in order. I rolled my eyes. I can’t help it; it’s my default setting. She continued, though, with her wacky theory. She said that when there was chaos in her closets, she noticed chaos in her life. That when her closets started to get out of whack, she knew it was time to get her act together. Time to cut loose some toxic friends, time to get rid of the shoes that gave her blisters, and the shoulder-padded suit from 1984.
I came to believe that she was on to something.
Last week, not a million years ago, I read that another friend was closet purging to begin a new decade of her life. She wrote that she felt refreshed, open, organized.
I told her about my friend’s theory, and this time, something like conviction thunked into my heart.
There is a box next to my desk. A moving box, open and exposing its innards like some kind of chaotic office supply Frankenstein project gone way too far. It’s been there since the fall of 2011. I look at it everyday. I tell myself I will get to it. I will pull out the random paper clips and old checking account books, and disordered photos from events long past.
And every day, I do everything but get rid of this eyesore. It’s almost like it’s piece of furniture now.
“Oh, you know.” I tell my kid who needs a stapler. “It’s in The Box,” as if I might say, “In Grandma’s secretary, or in the cherry buffet.” Like it might be stamped on the inside, burnished with the box’s manufacturer, as if it’s some kind of artifact.
It is an artifact, of a sort. My parents shipped this box full of its contents when they retired. Literally, they sent me office supplies. They don’t love me that much. They sent me their leftover, unwanted, weirdly colored papers. Over time, I’ve managed to empty and refill the box with other supplies from other places. And still it sits.
One of my intentional promises I’m keeping—and, people, you don’t do this sort of thing in a day, so be nice—is to keep the wave of clutter at bay. I’ve been successful in keeping the homeschool mess at a minimum so that we can dine at the dining room table, of all places. I’ve been a champ at recycling, and sending queries regarding my novel, and even calling friends.
But there sits The Box.
I was feeling, during my recent knee-pain related break from running, that I was missing something. That because I could not run, I was somehow behind. Behind on race goals, or training. Behind on meeting new people to run new trails. Then, I realized, it’s my goal, it’s my joy, it’s my running. I’m not behind on anything. I can run now, and I can run when and where and how I want.
And so it is with being intentional. I’m not ready to tackle The Box. For whatever reason. And it’s my journey. And I’m not behind. And I will do it. This word for the year business? I’ve got THREE HUNDRED SIXTY FIVE DAYS minus January to explore. My way.