When I get bogged down at work, the only thing that can get me going again is to clean my desk. Up until then, I've procrastinated. I've allowed things to pile up on my to-do list. I've told myself I'd get to it later. Meanwhile, all of those things are piling up in my brain, too. Some people download their brains into to-do lists, which frees them up to become productive. Unfortunately, I'm not wired this way. The to-do list sits in the back of my brain like a roadblock. All a to-do list does for me is to clarify the contents of the roadblock, so I know what kind of heavy equipment I need to bring in to clear it. A backhoe. Plastic explosives. Whatever. I won't be toodling down the road until the roadblock has been cleared.
This is one reason why I've stopped keeping a reading list, and I've stopped reading those 1000 Things You Need to X Before You Die books. Really. I have to read Ulysses before I die? WTF? Who made up that stupid rule? So, part of my to-do list is to selectively give up on things I told myself I'd do before I die. I have to paw through my desk and throw away or carefully file all of the unfinished projects. Filing a project effectively means: I will never finish you, but I'm not ready to throw you away yet. But I have closure on you, you stupid unfinishable project. You have no power over me. You have been conquered and subdued by my Dymo-labeler, and you will no longer haunt me as "unfinished, failure, ugh." During this clean-up process, I shelve my to-be-read pile. Sometimes, I mercilessly sift through my ever dwindling library for half-read books I can abandon at work. No. I will never read you. Rather, I cancel my commitment to finish reading you. I may, at some future time, pick you up again and read you. But, I will no longer measure my life against whether or not I ever do. I shelve/file/throw you away, and you longer haunt me.
My daughter rescued me yesterday by saying she wanted my old wedding dress; therefore, I didn't have to sell it on eBay to get closure on it. It's something like 50 pounds of gorgeous silk, and my parsimonious soul didn't want to sell it for $50 at a yard sale, or spend the time trying to get $200 on eBay. She said she wanted it. It's a beautiful dress. She would re-purpose it for something. And thus it moved off of my to-do list, and onto hers. I have no personal stake in my kid's to-do list. Stuff on her list may as well be agenda items on the next Presidential staff meeting. Really, really not fodder for my anxieties. Out, damned wedding dress, and plague me no more.
As part of this project, I'm also going through all of the content I've sprinkled throughout the internet under my actual name (versus stuff I've posted to various and sundry fora, using various handles). I will Clean You Up. I will delete you. I will reorganize you, and bend you to my will. Extraneous photographs and Flickr accounts, deleted. Extraneous blogs I never use, deleted. Sitting down and drawing a map of my various social media accounts, on the to-do list. How exactly does my blog, Picasa, Tumblr, Facebook, twitter, and god-knows-what-else all work together? Is my minimal effort producing maximum results? Have I gotten things to the point where I can post in one spot and have the RSS feeds sprinkle exactly what I intend to sprinkle land exactly where intended? Now that I have my digital world under "control," what do I do with all this content?
It sort of feels like mapping out the Dark Tower. I will bring in all the threads of my many universes into one story. Focus my light, and tell the best tale that can be told from all that scattered stardust. Sifting through it all, I can remember who I am, what I intended, and what it's all for. When the desk is clean, and each tool has been polished and labeled. When the world is still, some rainy Fall morning, and all I can hear is whatever I choose to play softly on iTunes. When my photographs have been labeled, key worded, meta-data-ed. When my CDs have been alphabetized. When my library has been re-shelved. When my bed has been made, and I have a pot of some luscious and strange tea in a beautiful china pot nearby.
I will remember.