What I am about to share with you will not bode well for my cocktail party chatter.
It’s Friday night. Prime time for wining, dining, the beginnings of real nightlife.
But I’m shredding.
And by that, I don’t mean the cool kind of shredding, the kind that helps you lose weight.
Or maybe I do.
I’m losing weight. It’s just not fat.
Before you turn away in boredom, think about this. You, I’m sure, have your own version of my filing cabinet. Overflowing, full of items you’d rather not have to look at any time soon. Maybe it’s your closet, briefcase, junk drawer.
And it’s not just that you are busy. Clutter means something. What is it you do not want to have to deal with, friend?
For me, it’s the ghost of years past. Years where this household had two incomes and some wiggle room.
Regardless of my fears, when the pile of filing on my cabinet reached a foot high, I drew a line in the sand with my lazier alter ego.
“That’s it, Muffin. Time to take care of business.”
To my dismay, in order to fit the foot-high pile of documents in the cabinet, a spring cleaning of sorts had to be done.
You see why this does nothing for my Friday-night reputation?
Just call me Ethel; please pass the shawl and reading glasses.
I was inspired by my friend Meg. At her house last evening, I inquired about the piles she had in her living room.
“Oh, that is all stuff to be donated,” she said. “I used to be a pack rat but something about getting cancer makes you reevaluate what’s important.”
Although not a pack rat, I envied her lightness of being in the most innocuous way. I can do this without cancer’s knock on the door, I thought.
My filing cabinet and I have had an adversarial relationship since my divorce. I was left with lots of messes to clean up. And paper to wade through. And did I mention I am a creative, right-brained type?
I dealt with what I could two years ago and left the rest until a time when I had more stamina and less emotional involvement (aka, fear).
So here we are.
Tonight, just one out of four drawers is done. Three hours and a contractor’s bag stuffed with shredded documents later, I have finished the job.
Should I have tackled my cluttered kitchen island? Probably. My son’s overflowing closet? Definitely. At least these are areas people see from time to time.
My filing cabinet, buried in my office, is no-man’s land. Hidden from the inquisitive eye of any guests.
And yet, I could care less. I’m cleaning house, baby.
Records of my minivan days are gone. Trips to the emergency room virtually erased. Remembrance of a joint mortgage are toast.
Could be sad.
But I’m not. That’s a life I’m not leading any more.
It’s hard to be sad when you’re floating, out from under the crushing heft of a weighty past, fraught with less than desirable memories.
Somehow, in clearing paper clutter, I’m clearing life clutter.
I remember all too well one particular taunt from my ex, “You won’t be able to do all of the financial crap. You don’t have the skills.”
Ahem. Do not ever make the mistake of assuming my deference to someone who is in the financial field is the result of a lack of skills. Writers do not become accountants or chief financial officers for a reason.
We know other people handle these things better than we do.
I’m a paperless-paying, breadwinning, more organized than ever, (slightly tired) mama.
We’re doing it, Muffin.
Like a boss.
Join me, friends. Float like a butterfly; sting like a bee. Get rid of even just a portion of your ugly, your unnecessary, your painful.
I’ve tested the waters. It’s all good.
In all honesty, I’ve found a glass of something bubbly helps in the thick of it.