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Gratitude is My Attitude

Most Sundays I tend to create what I refer to as my #GratitudeismyAttitude post on my Facebook business page for my organizing business. It’s just my little way of putting some good vibe, karma, mojo, whatever you want to call it out there into cyberspace and the universe to express my appreciation for something. It could be business related but sometimes it is more personal. Hey, I like to share (ok, fine, maybe sometimes share A LOT) and if I think it will resonate with even one person then why not, right?

So today is another Sunday and it is one I am extremely grateful to know that I am alive and well…and being “well” is by my definition, of course, and it is definitely a moving target. I know I am far from perfect so I embrace who I am and what I am doing on any given day and if someone thinks my definition is off then that is their perception and their reality. I suppose that argument wouldn’t fly should I really go off the edge, but you know what I mean.

I am also grateful on this Sunday to know that I have clients that are willing to work around my rather crazy schedule these days as I am working a full time temp job plus continuing to do remote part-time work for another contract job. It requires a lot of organizational and time management skills which I better have if I am going to help others who need me to teach them how to manage the clutter that affects their time and space.

I actually spent some time doing a little decluttering of my own time and space this weekend. For me that meant first looking at my calendar and trying to figure out how to carve out time to do things in the next two months without a feeling of guilt that I should be working. Getting laid off in November really messed up my ability to feel justified going anywhere and doing anything that I love to do to decompress even if it doesn’t cost money.

In my mind, every waking hour right now needs to be dedicated to earning money through temp work and organizing clients while still looking for a permanent job. But after spending the entire month of December and the first 12 days of January working on average 15 hour days, every day, 7 days a week, I’m a bit fried. And looking ahead I already have clients scheduled almost every weekend so there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight. But I’m not complaining…I love when I am engaged in organizing projects. So why am I not doing it full time? I made the decision last year to take on a W2 job to take off some of the pressure that comes with being self-employed. So my end goal is finding a Monday through Friday job again that pays the bills and, yes, enjoy the work and then take on side jobs more at my leisure than out of necessity.

Losing that W2 job right before Thanksgiving, though, meant finding anything I could to keep myself off unemployment and keep my mind active. I am extremely grateful to a friend that gave me the opportunity to help through the holidays at the company where she is the customer service director as well as the recruiter who helped get my foot in the door at another company I have been essentially stalking for quite some time (not kidding…I would give that foot and any other body part away to get permanently hired) and will now be there as a temp employee until mid-March (fingers crossed hopefully a lot longer). But all of the above has meant I have very limited free time and that has lead to a very cluttered calendar that I am happy to say is feeling less so now that I spent what was the appropriate amount of time today putting together a much more realistic schedule for myself. The hardest decision? I had to remove dozens of networking events so I could plan to workout at least 3 times a week. Don’t get me wrong, I love being out and about in my community, but a regular exercise routine is far more important to me and I simply can’t fit it in if I am going to so many events regardless of the connections I may make. Health above all, people…health above all!

On top of a cluttered calendar, my housemate and I attacked a very cluttered space, the storage room where a lot of my “stuff” is still in boxes because I simply haven’t had a need to unpack them.

Most of them contain kitchenwares which my housemate already has and therefore we agreed when I moved in that I would just use hers. But several boxes contain my mother’s and grandmother’s china, crystal and other collectibles that in my former life in Florida I really did use. I loved to entertain and it gave me such a warm feeling to be able to feel like a part of them was always at the table even if only in spirit.

Now, living in Colorado, I have a very different lifestyle and simply don’t have a need for 85% of what are essentially sentimental items. Yes, they are functional, but only if I am realistically going to actually ever put them to use again. It is possible, however, given the fact that I seem to desire living in less space with less things with each year that goes by and spend more time doing things outside instead of inside, it really is unlikely.

And while I could argue that there is plenty of space in the storage room for me to just leave them be until the next move (whenever that may be) and/or when my kids, niece and nephews decide they may want any of it (also whenever that may be, if ever), I need to practice what I always preach to my clients. That is, just because you have the physical room for stuff it still takes up a lot of emotional room in your life and you really do have to let it go.

Clutter is not just what we can see but also what we can feel overwhelming us in our daily lives. And my mind has been extremely cluttered for the past month or so. Suffice it to say, I have not felt very “together”…or at least not by my OCD definition.

I am someone who tends to be very busy and truly likes it that way the vast majority of the time as evidenced by the previously mentioned cluttered calendar. I have a ridiculous amount of energy and have survived most of my life on less than 5 hours of sleep every night without feeling deprived. Trust me, I have tried everything through the years to figure out how to get more sleep, but short of being given a Propofol drip every night…which I would never consider…and given the fact that I don’t tolerate any medication very well and won’t take anything being peddled by Big Pharma, I have just learned to accept the permanent dark circles under my eyes.

But last night when my eyes started to flutter around 11 pm (hours earlier than usual), I turned off the light and shut my eyes somewhat reluctantly thinking it would only mean I would be up by 3 am. When I heard my housemate moving around, I thought it was maybe an hour or two later. My pillow was over my eyes so it was dark, but as I lifted one corner it was very apparent it was past sunrise. At this time of the year that means around 7 am in Colorado.

Translation? That would have meant I slept about 8 hours, a very rare occurrence usually reserved for when I am really really really sick.

And then I checked my phone and it appeared to be 9:30…as in AM!

No way…not possible.

Wait…let me put my glasses on. I must be seeing a 7 as a 9 right?

And then glasses on, it was confirmed…I slept 11.5 hours.

What…the…hell??? What could be the possible explanation???

A. I am in an alternate universe

B. I got abducted by aliens

C. My phone is messed up

D. I went on a date last night that I don’t remember, got drugged and am now living in some bunker as the guy’s sex slave

E. None of the above

The answer could be A but I already feel like I have been living in an alternate universe the past few years with everything going on in the world (and no that is not an invitation to discuss politics).

B would require me to believe in aliens.

C is definitely a possibility but my computer confirmed the same time.

D …Well, let’s not even start a conversation about dating.

So I am going with E and that means there is no logical explanation other than I was simply that tired.

I jumped out of bed and started to immediately stress about the hours I had already lost sleeping “the day away”. I had planned to go on a hike, come home and spend about 5 hours working on various projects for clients, meet a friend for dinner, come home and do some more work, put away laundry, clean my bathroom and wash my hair. Yes, I actually have to schedule when I wash my hair. And unfortunately I have to set alarms to make sure I don’t get so hyperfocused on a particular task and I really do wash my hair. I can’t say I am particularly proud of the fact that I have to do this, but it is what it is.

Meanwhile, the hike didn’t happen and it’s now almost 5 pm and I still haven’t started the projects I needed to. Instead, I spent the past several hours “decluttering” my head from some of the memories I came across over the past 24 hours of decluttering the storage room.

And, yes, I cried…a lot.

I cried over seeing the boxes marked “Mom’s Butterfly China” or “Nana’s Silverware” because I miss my mother and grandmother no matter how many years it has been since they passed away.

I cried over the boxes filled with my kids stuff because I wish I could see them more often.

I cried over the photos of some friends I no longer speak to because they just weren’t willing to make the effort to stay in touch or said or did something that I decided I could probably forgive but never forget and needed to move on.

I cried over the photos of a few more friends I no longer speak to because of something I may have said or done, and am not afraid to admit it, but it seems they couldn’t forgive and/or forget and needed to move on.

I cried over the contents of so many boxes that reminded me of the man I was married to prior to moving to Colorado because I truly loved him with all of my heart and soul but in the end circumstances couldn’t keep us together.

And, last but not least, I cried because I guess I am a lot more tired than I really want to admit and it is time to take ownership and responsibility for how it is affecting me.

So here I am, showing my vulnerability to the world. I know I am strong, capable, resourceful and resilient but, yes, I am tired because of not just the physical demands but also emotional demands in my life. And even though I am so fortunate to have a lot of people in my life I know have my back and have showed up for me in so many ways, they can’t wave a wand and make my “clutter” disappear. The irony of being a professional organizer who essentially does that for my clients is not lost on me. But it still takes a lot more than physically removing their stuff from a space. It takes an emotional clearing, cleansing, purging or any other word that comes to mind before you feel the chaos that swirls around you externally and internally turn into a sense calm and peace. We all know this but we all still have times when we have to work a little harder at maintaining a happy median for our lives.

Me? I am trying really hard to maintain a reasonable work-life balance but with the twists and turns that mine in particular has been taking, work is the priority right now so that I can justify enjoying life more again in the future. And I am not saying that to illicit pity and sympathy. I still love my life even though I am working far too much at the moment. I mean, come on, I live in freaking Colorado and get to see views like this every day as I commute into Boulder…

I am saying what I have because it is just necessary at this juncture as I continue to look for a permanent job. I am doing everything in my power to “get by” and remind myself daily that “nobody died” and I certainly am not going to because I have to suck it up for a few months.

There are far too many people who go to bed at night hungry and homeless so I promise I am counting my blessings that I have a roof over my head, food on my table and clothes on my back. And if anyone out there has a job for a tenacious, persistent, business development specialist I would consider writing this blog the best investment of time I kinda sorta didn’t really have, but needed to do on this particular Sunday.

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