Goddamnit, how did this happen?
I managed to forget writing again yesterday. It’s been a rough few days sleep wise, so when I had to put the baby down halfway into the day’s writing (which, btw, I’ve deleted because it was terrible – sleep deprivation is apparently the silent killer of syntax) I fell right asleep too and slept until I got up for night feeding. I’ve somewhat fallen off the decluttering wagon too – the house was getting *really* messy, and I have people coming over several times this week, so I had to prioritize surface cleaning over decluttering cupboards and dressers, but I’m hoping to re-commit starting this weekend. But since I did it out through my initial one-week challenge, I’m thinking another weekly challenge may be a good way to dive back in. Maybe I should commit to decluttering two drawers/shelves per day next week?
Today, our baby has decided that sleep is overrated, and that only being carried around by mom will do. Since I’m writing this with a cranky baby in the baby carrier constantly swaying back and forth to keep her from getting even crankier, I’m going to keep it short and sweet today; babies really are a ton of work, but somehow also incredibly worth it.
I’m kind of disappointed in my progress with the decluttering this week – my heart just hasn’t really been in it, and I’ve been picking the easiest cupboards to do to fill my one-a-day obligation. It’s weird, I really want to get the decluttering done and once I start it’s usually fine, but I keep avoiding it. I’m wondering if maybe it’s because I know I have to deal with my wardrobe soon, and I’m anticipating how difficult it will be to let go of some of the things.
I can be quite sentimental about things that I got as gifts, or things that have memories attached, which makes it really hard emotional work to declutter. And nowhere is this more pronounced than when it comes to my wardrobe. The things I don’t use and should let go of all seem to represent a “better” me, which in some sense I wish I could be – the person who actually wears 4″ heels more than once a year, the person who has lots of occasions to wear cocktail dresses, the person who fits into the size 2 jeans always used to wear the winter I met my husband. And it’s hard to let go of those things, because it amounts to admitting that I’m not that person, and likely won’t be again, at least not for a good long while.
When I started this I thought cleaning out my wardrobe would be the most fun part. I’ve always had fun with it in the past, but to be honest I think that’s mostly because I’ve allowed myself to keep a certain number of these wishful thinking items. And now I wish I’d gotten rid of them much sooner – would I be thinking about the fact that I can’t fit into those jeans anymore if I’d given them away four years ago and didn’t have to keep looking at them? Probably not. I think it’s time to dig into the difficult wardrobe decluttering while that realization is still fresh in my mind…
I’m having such a hard time being strict with myself in my decluttering efforts. I keep running into the sunk cost fallacy – if I spent money on something that turned out to be not great, it feels awful to let it go without ever really using it, so I keep trying to convince myself that surely I can find a way to make it work, and so I should just keep it for now. For me, the only way to avoid falling in this trap seems to be being extremely strict with myself about what I get to keep. It’s almost painful letting go of perfectly good things that I spent good money on, but the reality is a lot of them I just do not need or like. And what’s more, keeping them seems to bring up negative emotions because whenever I see them I think about the money I wasted on them and the space they’re continuing to take up. How is it that it seems easier to deal with the constant low level feelings of annoyance these things bring, rather than push through the one time pain of letting go?
No inane comments about shoes or writing today – just a reminder to myself to be grateful that I have so many wonderful people in my life and that I live in a country with a really good health care system that everyone has access to for practically free. If you’re reading this, hug your loved ones extra hard. And call your mom!
My favorite thing I do with friends is a discussion group we’ve organized where we meet for good food, good wine and reasoned discussion of serious topics. We started it because we felt there are so few arenas these days for frank and open discussions face to face. It’s a bit of a cliché to complain about the constant connectivity and short attention spans brought by smartphones, but I really do feel like we have a higher threshold for really engaging in a lengthy discussion about something. While there seems to be an almost endless list of occasions for trite small talk and “elevator pitches” (shudder), there just seem to be so few opportunities for in depth discussions approached frankly, enthusiastically and completely without ironic distance, which is why I so value these evenings. I’m so grateful that I have friends who share my love of discussion and are equally happy to dive in to geeky explorations of the ethics of AI.
Have you ever heard about the one coin theory? The essence of it is if you think a bunch of something is important (say a bunch of writing, in my case), every single instance of it is important, since the bunch is made up of those instances and wouldn’t come to be if you didn’t keep adding one after another. It’s explained in detail in episode 1 of the Happier Podcast (which is totally worth a listen – I don’t love every episode and the structure can sometimes feel a bit forced, but every now and then there is an episode with really eye-opening insights), and it’s the reason I’m not skipping out on writing this today. Building habits is hard work, guys!
When the baby is crying like there is no tomorrow, after a long day of traveling with a fussy baby and a long night of crying before that, I start to question whether there really is all that much value to doing this every day, when days like this all I write is three sentences about why I’m not writing more. But then I remember that this is the seventeenth post in as many days, which is about 17 times further than I’ve gotten on past attempts to start blogging. And then I remind myself that the worst thing you write is better than the best thing you don’t write and I hope for a less exhausting day and maybe some more inspired writing tomorrow.
I’m guilty of constantly “living” in the future. I dream and worry about the future in almost equal measure – about what a perfect morning routine I’ll have once the baby’s sleep is more predictable, and how well I’ll dress once I lose those 10 extra pounds, and how clean I’ll keep the apartment once all the cupboards and dressers have been decluttered, and how it’ll be to go back to work, and whether I will ever write as well as I would like to, and a million other things.
The point is, I’m very rarely able to accept and settle down to actually being in the present. I’m not talking about mindfulness type meditations on presence, I just wish I could swap these “once x, then I will do y perfectly” type dreams with actually just starting to do the thing I eventually want to be doing right now, and that I could let go of the endless loops of thoughts about possible problems far in the future that may never even materialize. But how do I go about shutting down these ingrained thought patterns – where to start?