It’s starting to get quiet again. All hands on deck and fists in the air for months at a time. I’m ready for some stillness. To hide out in our apartment and read, write, not answer the phone. I just want to fall into a new cookbook, longer and faster runs, and heavier weights. Ready to sit down and write with more consistency. My body, my brain, they’re craving the ability to answer only to me. A break from the commitments and the chaos that is the holidays. The holidays that—even though we just barely celebrate—we get wrapped up in every time we go to the grocery store. Every time we realize we need a new pair of jeans. The days that we can’t leave our downtown apartment without being surrounded by people in a hurry, all frazzled and angry.
I’m ready for the quiet.
An entire workday was spent cleaning our apartment. Everything was pulled out the closet and sorted into piles. Things to keep, things to throw away, things to donate. We’ve lived in the same apartment for a year now and somehow stuff just starts to accumulate. Clothes that we’ve lost too much weight to fit in anymore, things we bought but never used, a collection of keepsakes that I have pictures and memories of so no need for the physical thing. Everything was sorted. Cardboard boxes labeled and all the extra cords, cables, and wires are now in one place. I scrubbed out the refrigerator and the tops of the kitchen cupboards. Every square inch of our home was inspected and wiped down. I left only the clean and the things that we really want or actually need. It all got so much calmer.
A year’s worth of baggage, of callbacks to a person I wouldn’t recognize, all stacked up nicely ready to be passed along to someone else. Maybe the calendar rolling over doesn’t mean anything really, but using the moment as an excuse to clear out the clutter changes everything. The piles of things that weren’t benefitting me finally being let go is such a reminder of the bigger things. Things that I have rattling around in my head. Commitments I made to myself that don’t hold any significance now. This whole thing is nothing but an opportunity to reevaluate how I spend my time, my money, my life. Reexamine the whole with fresh eyes and strip it down to the things I really want to be focusing on. So I started re-compiling the list. The plans and projects that I’ve let sit on back burners or buried underneath a pile of time-sucks I don’t have any particular passion for have been pulled to the front or unearthed. It’s time to focus.
The great mystery is always how these things ended up buried in the first place. Knocked down by all those times we say yes just to be agreeable. Covered up by a simple lack of motivation. Forced into deep drawers and dark corners by the idea that we just have too much to do right now. We always just have so much to do. There is so much work to be done, so many projects and deadlines. Houses that need cleaning and dinners that need to be made. We have bosses to answer to and family that needs our attention. And somewhere in there we’re expected to sleep, to relax, to just be. We’re constantly overworked and we find ourselves left with no time for the things we said we wanted to do around this time last year.
That is the intention we set. The precedent we ourselves created and then lived under. We’ve been sorting our lives into piles of the have to dos, like to dos, and we’ll do when we finally find the times. We make the decision where any one thing belongs in an instant and then never think to reevaluate that decision. That’s why it took me until I was 25 to ever run my first road race. That’s why I didn’t write my first short novel until last month. That’s why my blog gets updated sporadically. We’re constantly putting things that should be mandatory in our “when I have time” piles. And we never have the time. We’re building our lives out of good intentions we never follow through on and I’m fucking sick of it.
So let’s move on.
Let’s head into a new year with the understanding that we will do the things that we make time for. That we will accomplish only what we prioritize. That all our great ideas and grand plans are meaningless if we lack the follow-through to make them happen. If we let another year go by collecting things, habits, and experiences we’re only going to toss out this time next year we can’t tell ourselves we’re making progress.