I got my feelings hurt earlier this week. At first, I rolled my eyes when I read the comment on a post I had written about my purge, and then I laughed it off. They don't get it, I thought out loud. No big deal.
Well, this morning I woke up realizing that I had basically blown off two purge nights this week due to "no big deal" (the one I mentioned above and a couple of other ones that happened this week). I had allowed others' actions and words towards me (and my actions) to sink in...last night I even allowed them to send me to bed early without doing my Advent readings.
I am exhausted. There is absolutely no doubt about it. It also isn't simply physical. Emotionally I am rung out like a rag doll. At this point, I am done stating, "THIS is the most painful thing I am going to come across." It isn't just stuff I have made a treasure of...it is stuff that I filed away as something I would get to, projects, to dos, wants, dreams, desires. For the love of all that is good and holy, I came across a check today that I had not deposited. A rather large check. Now I am hoping beyond hope that that it is a mistake. That I somehow deposited it electronically and forgot to note it on the check. I have NO idea. It is the type of check that I can get re-cut to me once I sort it all out, but it begs the question....What. The. Heck.?!?!? I sat in the floor (because at the time I was sitting cross-legged in the floor of my office at work going through boxes) laughing....Laughing. Out. Loud.
Here is the deal.
I take care of others before myself. I say yes too much. I don't say no enough. I am a dreamer. I have a lot of interests. I am naturally curious. I am a procrastinator. I make lots of to do lists. I take lots of notes.
I have done a lot of purging at the office over the past three years. I have gotten rid of a lot of stuff. If you have followed this journey, you know...20 years of planners, years of training, MBA textbooks and files, but I have also made my office a catch-all for things that were "work" related OR "important files" so for as much as I have gone through, I have had a lot of boxes added back...so there were leftover boxes and new boxes....and what a bloody mess (sorry I went into my British alter-ego voice; I blame my business partner changing Siri on his iPhone to a British accent and having to listen to it all week).
There was a moment today, about midway through, that I had the brilliant idea to light a match and torch it all. The moment passed. LOL.
My friend sent me a lovely text midweek, knowing I was having a rough time and it said, "You know more than anyone what journey you are on and what God wants of you. Continue to hold His hand and walk with Him through this. Run your race. You know what you need to do. :) Cheering you on from the stands."
A woman could not have a better tribe.
All the prayers and all the words of support....and it took the ridiculous today to connect it all together for me to where it sank in....
I know this journey does not make sense for some or most, but it is what I need to do...for me....for my heart. I have TOO much stuff. It isn't guilt or even as simple as over-consumption, it is the fact that I have LIVED hard and fast for a lot of years and somewhere in all of this I forgot to savor all of the experiences, do natural intermittent purges along the way, finish a book (or books) before buying more, or any number of things that normal folk do in the course of their life. In addition, I have had an all-consuming professional life, worked my butt off for a MBA, and been on an excessive amount of board of directors....those three alone have left me with tons of books, papers, calendars, organizers, manuals, and on and on. Oh and then three years ago I started a company. I have worked solid since I was 16 with no more than a weekend between any one job. Hell....I didn't even take a real vacation until 2001. I have traveled...A. Lot....in the past 10 years, and I have never met a landscape that I did not want to have a treasure from...rock, plant, book, menu, magnet, ornament, and on and on.
If I am guilty of anything it is that I have lived TOO much. Which is laughable and frankly ridiculous. I have squeezed a lot into my years, and I find myself on that backside of 40 wanting something more, deeper. I have LOVED my life, and I am proud of what I have been able to accomplish. I have GREAT memories of people, places, and experiences. I have certificates, degrees, photos, and trinkets. I just don't need ALL of it. Some would say that I don't need ANY of it. Where I am today is simply trying to find a new balance that works for me.
Today I threw away a bunch of framed certificates and award letters. There was a time when I was in a career that measured those sorts of things...on the wall of your office. I remember thinking that a good life would be an office with walls framed with stuff like that. I am not that person anymore. My career is not like that anymore. Now, I am not totally without care for the experiences....I checked my LinkedIn profile to make sure they were noted on there, and then I threw them away. I don't want or need a wall of accomplishments in my office. That isn't who I am. It never was. It makes me uncomfortable. I can't explain to you why, but it does...and so I am not going to have it anymore. Period.
So....this is where I tell you how I got through the entire 12' x 12' office today that was packed as tight as a sardine when I arrived earlier today. That I had blocked off 8 hours and nailed it. Bam!
Oh...how I wish.
I got a LOT done. You can see my desk and my floor...like a lot of the floor. This is serious progress because neither could be seen without moving things around...it was BAD. I would post pictures, but you know a woman likes to keep some shred of dignity. I still have a few boxes to go through, but I always do a week long purge of my file cabinets over the last week of the year, so I feel strongly that I can get the remaining boxes and the file cabinets done in one week...that week. Bless. I also have some prints to hang on the wall, but all-in-all it is done.
I sweated, laughed, and cussed a little today. I found a box of old cards that had been sent to me when my step-grandfather and my stepfather passed away....I re-read every single one of them. I found thank you notes and drawings from children I had taught Junior Achievement to over a span of 12 years. I found old love notes that made me giggle. I found old photos my uncle had sent me to make me smile. I found a Bible I had meant to mail someone three years ago. I found a box of sand that I brought back from Haiti for a friend (boy are they going to be surprised to get that package). I have enough cords and stuff to open an IT store (my IT guy is going to have fun going through that). Pens....don't get me started on the INSANE number of pens I found today. I have a problem. I know. ;) I have three boxes and three pieces of furniture to donate that are getting picked up on Monday. I filled every trash can in the office (my staff is going to LOVE me) and most of the recycling bins. I moved and re-arranged furniture (finding my chi).
The truth is I feel amazing. It was a GREAT day. Hard work. Emotionally and physically draining, but a GREAT day. I am proud of myself. As Sis said, "Look what you did. Wow!!!" when I sent her before and after photos.
Earlier today, I found a photo of one of my favorite Nelson Mandela quotes (he died two years ago today)...
What struck me re-reading that this morning was that there are all types of prisons - physical, emotional, mental. When you walk out of one of these prisons, or a season, these are good words to remember.
Let me tell you that at 8 p.m. at night after the day I have had....those words and his sentiment are even more poignant. Sometimes our "stuff" can hold bitterness and hatred for us, and it is only in the letting go of the item that you release all that junk you tied to it....like a leash, or an anchor.
I don't want to overstate that when I enter into 2016, I am crossing a threshold...and let me just say that I don't plan on taking anything but the good with me. That means I have to leave not just the bitterness and anger, but all of the bad stuff that masked itself as good in my life. All the whatmighthavebeens, shouldas, couldas, wouldas, and even the stuff that was very, VERY good but is now passed. It doesn't mean I won't remember, it just means I won't let the past (even the good parts) rob me of my future.
I am missing out on cool stuff today...time with family, time I could be resting, reading a good book, Christmas shopping...I am missing any and all of those things because I have to manage and organize and corral boxes and boxes of my past. I don't know about you, but that no longer seems like a good use of my time. So...I am going to push on. I have 25 days left of this purge. I need to make the most of every last one of them.
Please pray for me. Pray for my heart. Pray for stamina.
Thanks for listening and reading along on this journey.....even the ones that don't get it....you remind me why I am doing this, and I appreciate it.
Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)