Friday, January 6, 2012

Row, Row, Row Your Ducks

I've been in an a-place-for-everything-and-everything-in-its-place sort of mood for a while now. Sometimes the mood is mild. And other times the mood is all-consuming. Bit it's always there. Whirring away in the background.

Unfortunately, we're still waiting for the furniture we bought in November to be delivered—we're scheduled for 1/14, which is good, because mom will be here on 1/17 and will need a bed. Yeah. Cutting it close.

So yeah. We've booked mom's flight. She'll be here for 3 weeks while I'm recovering from surgery. I'm actually glad we extended her stay from the planned 2 weeks; hopefully by that 3rd week I'll be fit company and will actually get a chance to visit, laugh, and enjoy having her here. I'm afraid the first couple weeks may just be a haze of pain and drug-addled dreams.

And all of that has been fueling my mood. Of course work has just sort of exploded on my plate this week, leaving me 1 week to straighten out the mess before I leave and I'm desperately trying to get my ducks in a row so I can easily hand-off my projects and step back into them when I'm back.

And don't even get me started on the paper! I have paper everywhere! I have notes everywhere on the table I've been using as a desk. I can't wait until my real desk gets here so I can get some of these papers organized. And then there's the filing cabinet. We've finally got it in the house and emptied. But I still need to shred all the old stuff and set up files for our bills and things here. Normally I would love this kind of project, but it's been a low priority with everything else that's been going on. A low priority that is suddenly going to become big pain in the keester the minute I need to find something important.

So last night I tackled the 1st task in getting organized—purging my planner and adding the 2012 pages. I know 2012 started 6 days ago, but this is way better than previous years when I didn't get my planner going until mid-February.

Anyhow, I noticed something interesting while condensing and archiving my older planner pages. I had pages going back to August 2010 and those pages were all about work and work projects. About the only life notes in there had to do with when I was sick or paying bills.

Then I got into the pages from spring 2011. We were well into the house build then, and there were lots of house-related notes scattered in the pages regarding vendors and conversations and deadlines mixed in with the regular work notes. But even the house-related notes had a very work-like quality to them—I was treating it just like another project—and there was still virtually nothing in there about life.

Then I got to late summer 2011. Suddenly the daily pages weren't big enough to hold all the notes I was taking and nearly every weekday had notes in the margins and extra pages added in to hold the notes. There were copious notes about who I talked to and what we talked about rather than my usual 5–10 word bulleted summaries. This was the time when I was finally getting amped up about moving and making lots of calls and taking actions that made it all very real. Notes about life were sparse, but there were notes about dinner plans and get togethers. It's like I suddenly stopped compartmentalizing my work and personal lives.

Then the medical stuff started happening in August–September. More notes! More pages!

Then suddenly, it was mid-October and I had 7 days off from work, and yet my planner pages were still packed full! That never used to happen. If I was off work my planner pages used to stay blank. I have notes about things I saw while driving out here, things we missed on the way that I would still like to do. Notes on conversations Scoob and I had in various hotel rooms with ideas for the house or things we still needed to take care of.

The first month or so after moving in, my planner was full of notes regarding the house and things that needed to be fixed. It was actually funny to see because suddenly there were very few notes about work, even though I was working during this time. I hope I never need to recall anything from that period, because it is lost to me.

And ever since we've been here my planner pages have stayed pretty full, even after we finished all our 30-day punch list items with sub-contractors. (Well, not finished, the landscaper is finally coming out on Tuesday.) Even Saturdays and Sundays are full. Where we went, who we met, what we did.

Suddenly, my life exploded onto the pages. It's the closest thing to a dairy I've ever kept and glancing back through the notes I could relive our journey to getting here.

As I was cataloging the pages it was like reading a timeline toward finding my life. Or finding a life that I enjoy enough to actually note events and occasions to remember them.

Which isn't to say I haven't enjoyed stages of my life, but let's be candid—the last 2–3 years, while not being unbearably unhappy, have pretty much sucked ass. I hated where we lived. I hated my commute. I was on edge all the time and couldn't relax. And while I love my job, other factors were beginning to wear on how much I enjoyed it. And aside from a neighbor couple and 1 other friend, we did not socialize. We were getting desperate for a change when we decided to buy land in North Carolina.

I am so happy we took that risk. I finally feel like I have some balance to my life again. Sure, it hasn't been a smooth road, and it probably never will be, but I no longer feel like my worth or happiness is determined by my job. (That sounds more bleak than I want it to, but I hope you get the idea.)

And I love that get to watch the sun set like this from the
front porch or out my office window almost every evening.

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