I recently made a decision, a freeing decision. I decide to not force myself to do something. To not force myself to finish something. Typically I set a goal and complete it. I usually go the distance, the long haul. Whether I want to reach that goal or not by the end of things, I still complete it. This time I didn’t. I decided to NOT complete the goal because a) I didn’t want it anymore, I had lost all interest and passion, and b) it has no relevance to my life and career. My life and career has gone in a very different direction than I thought it would. At one point the goal was relevant. It fit with the direction I thought my career was headed. Then things changed and made a sharp turn to the left about 4 or 5 years ago. But I kept working towards the goal because I started it so I felt had to finish it (that stubborn streak I have). A rational person would have stopped at that point and asked why they were doing it. But I’m not always rational. I kept working towards the degree. A degree in a topic that at one point I enjoyed and thought was going to be part of my career. And I was very very close to the goal. But I was forcing myself and making myself miserable trying to reach it. So I finally stopped and asked myself why? Why was I doing this? What was the point? How does this fit with my life and career? I had no answers. No reasons. So I decided to stop. I don’t need it. Deciding was like a breath of fresh air. I felt lighter. Free. Like I had thrown the albatross around my neck into the next galaxy. And calm. It was the right decision for me.
And then I realized I could purge. I didn’t need to keep all the related stuff anymore.
So I spent part of my weekend purging the stuff I’ve been hauling around for years and years…3 copier paper boxes full of papers and notes to be recycled…a rather large box of binders (anyone need 3 ring binders?? various sizes available! I’ll even throw in some dividers!)…a copier paper box full of books that I read because I had to but can’t say that I enjoyed or will ever read again (buh bye Garcia Marquez!)…plus random related materials I’ve accumulated either by people giving them to me or in relation to a class (art exhibit pamphlets, notes from talks, etc.), a pile of paper clips and binder clips, a stack of note cards, and a small bag of trash.
What I’m left with are remnants. The files still on my computer. About a shelf and a half (maybe a little more) of books that I read and enjoyed or authors I’ve intentionally collected (Jorge Luis Borges, Tomas Eloy Martinez, and Isabel Allende to name three off the top of my head). Some reference books (kept one dictionary, got rid of the other two! wait, why did I have three anyway??). A couple of nice art prints. A file folder of all the “official” paperwork and info. And that’s it. Those are the remnants of about 10 cumulative years of studying. And I feel so free.
Makes me want to purge some more. What else that I’ve been hauling around can I get rid of? I’ve got a 4 day weekend with Thanksgiving this week. That should be plenty of time to do some serious cleaning and purging.