Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Maybe I'll Touch a Spider Later

When I awoke this morning, I opened my eyes reluctantly and waited, unceremoniously, for the all-too-familiar "meh" feeling to wash over me as it has most days for the last year or so.

It didn't come.

So I opened my eyes a little wider and waited for a rush of anxiety.

Nope. Nothing.

So I opened my eyes still wider, sat up, reached for my slippers, and then stumbled out to the kitchen where a fresh pot of coffee was ready to pour thanks to Lex who was already up and dressed "to go out for the day" he announced. As I fixed my cuppa just the way I like it (a little non-dairy this and a lotta chocolate-y instant cappuccino that), I thought to myself, "Self! You're thirsty. Have a glass of water too. You really should drink more water that isn't caffeinated this year."

So I fixed myself a nice, tall tumbler of ice water as well and then headed back to my room and my computer to check up on what had happened in the world while I slept. As it turns out, not much had happened for most people beyond breakfast.

And that's when I realized...I felt hopeful.

Like...actually hopeful and, frankly, pretty happy to be alive which had absolutely nothing to do with the promise of brunch.


So I took a mental inventory. Did something happen last night - something significant - to change my outlook? No. Last night was pretty well uneventful save giving a newly turned 15-year-old a pretty spectacular (if I do say so myself) gift. I didn't win the lottery or fall in love or get kissed at midnight. There was no appearance by a magical fairy godmother or a handsome sugar daddy or an ambitious literary agent or eager publishing house. There was no change in latitude. I didn't even have any particularly memorable dreams.

I just...woke up to a fresh perspective, a psychological shift in my attitude combined with a double shot of organic energy for good measure. Overnight.

So I went with it.

I spent a leisurely morning drinking coffee and water, and then I did something long overdue.

See this?

Ignore the dust

This is an empty corner of my room.

What's so special about an empty corner, you say? Well, until this afternoon, this particular corner was piled knee high with stuff I didn't know what to do with at the time it entered my room so I'd been dumping more and more stuff into this one spot until it had become a Corner of Doom threatening to sprawl out into a Room of Doom.

But NO MORE! There cannot be an Eye of Sauron at the top of a tower that no longer exists! Heh.

I got down on the floor with an extra-large, Hefty trashbag between my knees and, over the course of about 3 hours, unpacked, examined, sorted, and threw away everything in that corner until the very last thing - my old laptop that was replaced this summer with a new-to-me machine - was the only thing without some kind of a home. And, in one phone call to a congenial brother, the laptop had the promise of a delightful home with a 7-year-old nephew inside of 15 minutes.

At some point, mostly when I began the process of re-homing items I'd discovered, I started making mental notes about other dusty, dark corners that needed a good rooting. Eventually, the list grew larger than 3 and so I began a list of both areas to de-clutter and items I needed to buy to make de-cluttering even more successful. Minimalist that I am, the only thing currently on the "to buy" list are frames for the artwork prints I've managed to collect but have never framed or hung. 

If only the list of areas to de-clutter was that short. Oi.

Imagine my surprise to discover that, not only had I been tamping down my emotions and thoughts into gooey, crumb-encrusted, overflowing mental compartments over the last year, I'd also been stuffing various physical nooks, crannies, drawers, closets, boxes, and bags with all sorts of crap.

Dangerous territory, y'all. Trust me. The last time I woke up from these kinds of escapades, I found myself in the midst of a practice run at a mid-life crisis and had all but abandoned everything in my life to run away from it...from me.

Double oi.

Oi squared.


And then I was reminded of two things:

A) I remembered Allie's last post on Hyperbole and a Half - Adventures in Depression, and how it ended.

B) But also I remembered a link on Pinterest Acr0nym sent to me a couple of weeks ago.

Start the year with an empty jar and fill it with notes about good things that happen. Then, on New Years Eve, empty it and see what awesome stuff happened that year. Good way to keep things in perspective.

The second was a biggie to me. Because, as I was attempting to pull my thoughts together to write a year-end wrap up post of the good that happened in 2012, I couldn't think of anything except just a couple of big chunks of glitter. Like...Geek Show, Defcon, a visit from Dayna and Naked Jen, and a couple of well-hidden gems. But I couldn't think of any of the little things that, when added up together, could overcome the shadows of my scarface, panic attacks, full-fledged agoraphobia, and the onset of night sweats and cold flashes.

Scarface...just about a year ago - it looks way better now

I decided I was going to create a "nice things" jar for 2013 so that, at the end of 2013, I could look back at each sliver of a reminder of all the nice things that had occurred to keep me putting one foot in front of the other every single day.

I dug out the brightly colored paper I bought years ago when I was a devoted pen pal. I grabbed the kitchen shears (don't worry, I already washed them with soap). Then I lit the Rosy Rings honey tobacco-scented candle I'd unearthed in my Corner of Doom purge earlier in the day and set about cutting up squares of pinks, purples, yellows, blues, oranges, and golds to write at least one nice thing upon for the next 365 days.

Afterward, I went on a hunt for a jar - any jar - that would contain all the joy and kindness and glittery bits I plan to collect when I found the vase that had once contained these:

Flowers from Caro in Canada 12 days - 12! - after they arrived unexpectedly

A remnant of a nice thing that happened in 2012.

And here is the result:

Candlelight, art needing frames, and a jar with a nice thing already in it. Sorry the picture is so bad.
Notice it's in the corner that used to be full of gloom and doom.

Now it's full of gratitude...and hope...and nice things.

So that's my resolution for 2013. Remember the good things. The nice-smelling things, the light, the talent, the love, the warmth, the sweet, the kind, the generous, the funny, the silly, the smart! smart! smart! I even dusted off my unused Pinterest account to help me keep track.

Additionally, it's time to also dust off and de-clutter all the areas I'm sure I'll continue to identify - in my home and in my head - to make them nice. 

I promise to make it so.

It's my resolution for 2013.

That and, you know, drink more water.


Gaelyn said...

OMG, what's in that water!? I've heard someone say that housework is cathartic. They must have been totally crazy. Or at least a little bit. OK, I'll admit to a once a year physical house cleaning, at most. Yet there's something gratifing about the activity of throwing or giving away the no longer needed. Keep drinking that water, all day long.

Antique Mall Success said...

One of my resolutions is to get to know wonderful and interesting people like you better. :)

Graciewilde said...

Terrific post, Jane -- oddly enough, on this , Jan 2, I woke up in that same sort of space - the meh had lifted (if only for a day, the skeptical me says). Kind of interesting to feel a spark of hope, a piece of that glitter that you referenced. I posted my fifty things to do in 2013 yesterday and I am actually noticing excitement. I am going to clean out my mind by shuffling through papers today and maybe even having a few minutes of UNproductivity.
You inspire me.

Masked Mom said...

I have an ENTIRE room of crap--a literal room, not just one of the figurative ones tucked away in some back corner of mind--that desperately needs hauled out. It's not just MY crap, it's my son's and daughter's crap and some of their friends' crap as well. I have been eyeing it for days, weeks, months...you have inspired me to commit to actually digging it out this weekend. If you don't hear anything from me in the next week or so, know that I was probably taken hostage by rogue rodents living under almost two years' worth of four or five people's stuff.

Laine Griffin said...

I love this!! Happy New Year, Jane!