“…just inside the door and I reached up for the ring but it was not my thing. Mine will be throne like no other known- a place to end the tale; read the paper trail. A thousand letters telling me this is how it will be…”
Earth to Andy. Oh, Earth to Andy. While I realize you no longer exist, I still can’t get you out of my head. Especially THIS song. It’s called The Crown and there’s just somethin’ about it. I can’t quite put my finger on it but…I could listen to it over and over and over… Okay, I HAVE listened to it over and over and over! Hundreds of times! This lyric is ESPECIALLY poignant to me this week though. You know, choosing the opportunities that are right FOR. YOU. Deliberately crafting a life that you love. Having time to enjoy it; to look back on it all. But more simply, the freakin’ paper trail.
PAPER. YOU ARE MY EVEREST.
Well, not really. I kinda love paperwork but for you normal people out there, I can feel your pain.
My husband and I moved from Charlottesville, Virginia to Franklin, Tennessee a little under two years ago. As we were getting our home ready to put on the market, we realized that there were certain home maintenance issues we’d…ignored. We’d built this pond in our back yard that was freakin’ fantastic but we had all this left over river rock that we kinda dumped in a pile. Technically we made a “rock garden” but really, it was just an ugly pile. With bugs and worms and who knows what else. We knew we’d have to get rid of the pile before the house went on the market and guess who got the job of moving all those rocks? That’s right, ME. And lemme tell you, I was not happy. Not happy at all. I put it off. I made excuses. I almost convinced myself it didn’t look “that bad”. Finally, a few days before the realtor was coming back, I gave in and started moving the rocks. My husband was outside doing other stuff in the yard when I finally bit the bullet. I cursed. I belly ached. I tried shovels, buckets, rakes, pots…Nothing I did made it any easier. Nothing I did made it go any faster. NOTHING. In the middle of a particularly colorful tirade (I’m pretty sure my husband was stifling laughter the WHOLE time.), I stopped. It was like a light bulb went off in my head. I sat back on my heels and turned to my husband and said “This must be what regular people feel like when they have to deal with paperwork!!” He laughed. I mean, straight up guffawed. I dunno if it was the “regular people” comment or the fact that he’d just been holding it in so long that he couldn’t contain it anymore. He laughed but I got it. I mean, I. GOT. IT. From that moment on, my approach changed. Instead of cursing each rock I had to pick up and only focusing on all the rocks I hadn’t touched yet, I started to focus on the ones in my hands. I dealt with one rock at a time. And slowly- and I do mean SLOWLY- that dump of a rock garden got moved. And I didn’t hate every single second of it. I mean, it’s not like it was all rainbows and roses but the seconds no longer ticked by like hours. My attitude changed. I started looking at the work I’d already completed instead of all the stuff I had left to do.
The point of that little anecdote is that I felt about moving those rocks the same way you feel about dealing with all those papers. Those piles of papers. Years of papers. Papers upon papers. (The funny thing was, it never occurred to me to tackle that pile of rocks the same way I tackle a pile of papers until I was in the midst of misery. And sweat. So. Much. Sweat.) The sense of dread. The unabashed agony that sits on your chest when you allow yourself to really look at your paperwork/mail/filing situation. I know you’ve tried strategies upon strategies to make it easier. You’ve bought folders and bins and label makers. You’ve taken hours to clean it all up, sworn that it’ll never get this way again, and then felt like crap because a month later you were right back in the same situation.
Take a breath. For real. Breathe.
I’ve got this paperwork situation handled.
Before we dig into the nitty gritty though, there are two things you need to know. Ready?
Organization- at least GOOD organization- is simple. Simple in the fact that it’s uncomplicated. Good organization is straight-forward. It makes your life EASIER. Navigating the organization in your house should NOT look like that scene in The Pacifier where Shane unlocks the Ghost.
Any organizational system in your life needs to work when you’re lazy. If it doesn’t, the system is flawed. Come on, if we were always motivated, always on top of everything all the time then we wouldn’t even need systems. A successful system works even when barely put any work into it.