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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Of light bulbs and dining room tables

I was recently inspired by a blog or forum post (apologies to the person who wrote it, but I can't find it again, so maybe I dreamed it...). The author wrote that she wasn't an octopus. It's not that she can't have multiple projects, it's that she can't work on more than one at a time. As I read her post, the light bulb went off.

She was talking about leaving her projects sitting out, even when she wasn't working on them, when she was working on something else. And she realized that it was causing her mental distress, or guilt, or just stress from all the clutter. I totally identified with what she was saying. Because I have the same problem. We don't eat at the dining room table (well, I do, for breakfast). There's just the two of us, and we eat in the living room while watching tv. So the dining room table becomes the gathering place for things like mail, receipts, things that need attention fairly soon, and projects when I'm through with them for the evening.

My thought process goes like this: I'm not finished with what I wanted to accomplish this round of working on this project, so I don't want to put it away yet. But then the next night comes along, and another project either grabs or needs my attention, so the other project just sits there. Well, see, I still haven't finished what I wanted to accomplish, so I'll just leave it there until tomorrow night. Eventually I have several projects that sit there for months. Occasionally I pick one up and work on it or finally ut it back in the sewing room. But the table is still buried under other projects and things. Sometimes it's hard to clear a place for breakfast.

With this in mind, I began working through clearing off the table last Saturday, putting things away (or throwing them away). I didn't get it all done that day. But I got enough cleared that CC challenged me. If I got it completely cleared off, we'd have dinner there one night. I accepted that challenge. After all, other than when we've had company over for dinner (very infrequently), I dont think we've ever had dinner sitting at that table, just the two of us. I did get it cleared off, and we did have dinner there. It was strange, to be sure. :). But the other important thing for me is that I now want to keep it cleared. I don't know if I will fall back into old habits. I hope not. I'm going to try not. Because I really like how it looks. It brings another small bit of serenity in my chaotic life.

Will this be a positive influence in other areas, like my crazy sewing room? Maybe, maybe not. We'll just take it one step at a time. I'm pleased, though, that it is still clear tonight, and that I've put away the project I was working on, before bed.

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