Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Clearing Spaces, Healing Places

My last year was a major bum out and I don't think I've yet recovered exactly my sense of purpose in life from it.  Toward the beginning of the year, my cat got incredibly sick out of the blue and had to be put down.  This was very unexpected and difficult.  I thought she would far outlive my dog.  But, that wasn't the case.  I thought I'd recovered mostly from that, and having my dog around helped because I wasn't so alone.  My household went from 3 to 2.  2's not so bad.

Then, my dog, who was 11, one day just couldn't walk.  Her back legs were paralyzed.  This was about 5 weeks before Christmas.  She'd had signs of arthritis over the past year, but some medications had helped with that, and it wasn't anything unusual for an older dog.  But with her legs not working, the vets determined she had a herneated disc in her back that a) even with surgery they weren't sure it could be rectified, not to mention the fact that surgery would cost $7,000 they said, but b) the herneated disc could be the result of cancer.  My dog was a pitbull, and she weighed 60 pounds.  To take her out, I wrapped a belt underneath her and we hobbled out the door, and then down 2 flights of stairs and back.  My building unfortunately doesn't have an elevator.  I found a doggy wheelchair through Craigslist and I drove in a frenzy for 2 hours to the boondocks to retrieve it from a family whose dog had obviously used the wheelchair in its last days too.  Unfortunately the wheelchair, it worked, but she was still in too much pain to move around much.  We had her on steroids and pain meds but, and as any pitbull owner knows, a pitbull who actually shows they're in pain, is in a serious amount of pain.  They're otherwise so very stoic and have a high pain tolerance.  She groaned every step of the way when I had to move her, and she also couldn't sleep very comfortably trying to maneuver her legs.

It was 3 weeks before Christmas that I came to grips with the fact that it was time.  I physically couldn't carry her and she wasn't going to get any better.  Since she's been gone, I've been fairly lost and so many words: numb, sad, depressed.  I know I had her for over 10 years, but even I wasn't prepared for just how difficult it's been with her gone, coming home to an empty house, no longer having someone who's depending on me, is there when I wake up, when I get home, who's waiting for me to take her out or feed her.  I'm still amazed just how much of a hole she's left in my life.  I know I'm free now to do anything I want.  I can go anywhere I want, live anywhere since it's just me, but I'm finding it hard to even get off the couch, and it feels like I'm barely holding it together at work.  Work is a welcome and unwelcome distraction.

Basically, I don't know what my life's about anymore or where to go.  And with the new year, I intend to find that out.  I'm not sure how but I have this incredible amount of space that needs tending to, if for no other reason than to give me some semblance of structure.

My New Year's Resolution:
Clear up 
Clear out
my living area and in the process my own psyche - at least, that's the hope anyway.

If you'd like to join me, this is what I'll be doing ~

The Game:
Delete 1 item from your belongings each day

The Rules:
1.) Choose an area to clean each day or week
2.) Put 1 item in the Out Box every day*
3.) Take said items away once a week
*If you miss a day, just make sure 7 items are in the Out Box by Take Out Day!

What counts as an item:
1. Any object
*Update: Any object that has been in your home taking up space - an item that you've allowed to take up residence (and I'm not talking about dishes that have mold on them).

What about trash?
I've gone back and forth on this and I think, even for myself, I can't let myself count this.  Since I'm incorporating cleaning, and I think from this point forward I will use the word cleansing, it's much more fun to think about rather than cleaning, blech - therefore, while ridding trash from your place is necessary, it's just the frosting on the cake.  Clearing is about trimming away the unnecessary objects in your life's inventory.  I think we all know what in our space is trash and what constitutes an actual "item" that requires some deliberation and possibly even anxiety or agony to consider letting go of.  More on this later, but this is just the beginning.  

I found a lot of items to get rid of, can I count them toward this and next week's goal?
Sure.  Why not!

I found several of the same thing to get rid of - how should I count this?
This is your call.  I've been counting items based on the amount of time it takes me to decide to get rid of it.  For instance, I found several candle holders that I knew right away needed to go, so although there are 3 of them, I'm counting them as 1.  Whereas, the box of dishes and bowls that took me awhile to decide to part with, I'm going to compromise and count as 3 (1 for the big dishes, 1 for the small dishes, and 1 for the bowls).

Where should I start?
First start thinking of the hidden places in your house or apartment, places where you're already storing things, things that you probably don't need, probably don't even remember are there.  For me, I'm going to start with my storage area downstairs in the garage.  I don't even know what's down there - but I will let you know.

You could also start with what's right in front of you.  What do you tend to buy a lot of?  Or keep?  Is it clothes - magazines - books - etc.?  You could start there if you're ready to dive in.  But if you're not quite ready to take things away that are right in front of you, start with the things that you don't see everyday, like you're garage or storage area or closet.

Maybe you want to start with the place you really want to clear or the items you know you need to trim down.  It's all up to you, this is your journey.  Or just follow me and watch what happens :)

1 comment:

  1. This is great! I go by area. This week I did the closet in the library. I was exhausted after that. Next up, bedroom closet. I like this method... I think I'll have to use if for bigger areas, like the attic, which are just too daunting otherwise. -Missy