Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Kicking Butt and Taking Names

So... I had one of those days that took a boatload of energy, but at the end of it I could say that I accomplished everything I said I would. Possibly not everything I ought to have done, but everything anyone was expecting me to do. Seriously... that's not an everyday thing in my world.

And then, because I was on an "I'm too sexy for my shoes" roll, I started....*gasp* not just cleaning my desk, but rearranging my files. See, I had this teensy little problem. My filing system didn't match much of anything -including the laws of physics and how my brain works. So I was afraid to file anything, figuring I'd never see it again. So, when my lawyer would say, "could you give me some data about... something or other?", I'd confidently reply "sure!", as though I knew exactly where those 400 pieces of paper were. Then I'd stay up all night finding them. Seriously, even I know that there has to be a better way.

But, all the systems you read about are for people who only pretend to be disorganized. Those of us who are have to think long and hard about how we can arrange things so that we will be able to locate them again. I need it to be true that the papers on my desk aren't singing the "Andrea can't succeed alone. She's too stupid to take care of herself." song. So, in the interest of shutting those pieces of paper up (WHAT???? You papers don't talk to you?), I poured myself a glass of wine and got to work.

This picture was already well into the process. Note the episode of West Wing playing on the computer, the almost empty wine glass, and the phone -in case I needed to call 911.

To give you the full effect, this came from off the desk and out of the file cabinet. Not good. But I hung in there.

I was beningly ruthless. I told myself that I didn't have to throw anything away. I had files on everything under the sun: ideas for research projects, ideas for community service, cards from people who love me, ideas for parties and decorating, half-hearted efforts at organizing my retirement information and my bank accounts. I went through them all.

I decided it was all about color. Blue files are personal. Yellow files are financial. Red files are for big pieces of property: the house, the car, my bike (worth more than my car, so this makes sense.) Plain boring files are for divorce documentation; that project doesn't merit the cool colored file folders. Green is for employment records, applying for new jobs, school stuff...that piece of life. I need one more color for insurance of all types -which I suppose could be financial, but in my brain it's its own category. Purple, perhaps? Check me out!

This is the inside of the file drawer. Am I the most organized thing, or WHAT????

Those of you who easily create order and grace wherever you go won't understand what a triumph this is. I know that; I am the child -and the despair- of such a person. There are things I'm good at that you aren't, I imagine. But this is a huge thing for me. I created a system that I can work with. It's not cumbersome, nor will it chide me when I get it wrong. I invented it; I can un-invent it. It won't mess with me ;)

Is this amazing or what?

I'm sounding flippant, but here's the thing. I got rid of stuff that has nothing to do with the new me. I revisited old dreams that really could happen now. I took charge of knowing what's going to happen in my financial future. (Nothing amazing, that's for sure, but I won't be eating cat food, which is what I had feared.) This was just another piece of making my life MINE. I'm beginning to suspect that is just, well, the beginning. I've already eliminated most of the clothes from the old me. I have a new hair style and new glasses. I'm starting to have new furniture here and there. And every time that I claim the new thing and eliminate the old truncated me, I feel stronger and better. And it was all because I had a good day at school ;)


Lisa :-] said...

Can I live your good day vicariously? I have had several crappy ones in a row. Yours almost made me feel a little better...

Andrea Rusin said...

Sure! We can share! I'm sorry you've had bad days, though :(

LisaTV said...

Andrea, I'm just catching up on your blog. I'm really proud of what you were able to do here! Now I feel compelled to tackle my clothes closet, which has become kind of a mess.