A few weeks ago I decided that I would take care of a few things around the house that had been neglected. I stained the deck, put away my laundry (that is a task for me), did some yard stuff, car stuff and house stuff too. I was killing it. I was getting things done. I was making the wife happy with all the picture hanging, dusting of furniture, vacuuming (you know everywhere) and I even joined the Veteran's of Foreign Wars (VFW) too. For the record that has been a 4 year promise that has just been filled. I mean I was killing it. I was checking the boxes of things that "needed to be done" off one by one. There was one chore that I avoided. I knew it needed to be done. Hell, it has been needing to be done for months and months. Lucky for me it was a chore in our office which is near the kids room. I never really go into the office so, as they say, "out of sight out of mind." After all the things had been done, hell, I even cleaned the garage to the point we can walk all around it, I could no longer avoid the office task waiting me. That task being shredding papers.
Yes, shredding is what sparked this blog. Let me paint this picture a bit. In my office we have a "shred" box under my wife's desk. She does all the bills so it is better near her. We have a kitchen trashcan size cross-shredder for the job. Since the last time I did the shredding we had filled that box, then another and had an overflow onto the floor like a mountain after an avalanche. There was a lot of paper. I am going to get this done I said and I set out to do it. I had no desire to cram myself into my office with all this paper begging to be murdered. So, I decide that I will do the shredding downstairs in the living room while watching some baseball talk shows. Since the Lakers aren't playing yet, the Kings (LA) aren't playing yet and the Raiders are sucking the life out of my very soul I avoid other sports channels and focus on the Dodgers right now. I'm protecting my mental state I tell you.
Anyway, back on track. I think i'll make three trips up and down the stairs bringing the shredding in two trips and the shredder in one trip. Seven trips later I get all the shredding down stairs. So you don't picture it in your mind I took picture of it. It looks just like this:
What you see here is 3 boxes of shredding for a family of 3 people. I looked at this task ahead of me and sighed. What the hell were we thinking not getting this done more frequently? I couldn't complain to my wife cause it was going to be a surprise when she walked into the office again she would be shocked to see we actually had an office floor after all. As I stood there for a moment I realized I needed a better picture because this shred pile sparked a thought which I would blog about later. For the record, this is the "later" I was thinking about. I needed the picture to be from above not from the ground. So, let me fix that real quick before we carry on.
Now this picture isn't to show off some of my wife's elephant obsessions or my comfy as hell chairs. Although as I look at them I want to go relax in my seat. ugh, damn pictures. It is about the pile of papers in front and about life too, which is the point of this blog. Let's go down the rabbit hole shall we?
As I stood there looking at the task at hand I saw life in general. I also saw a visual representation of what we do to ourselves in life. What do I mean you ask? Well, we clutter our lives to the point where the task of self-care (shredding in this case) seems to grand to be taken on. At this point, I realized I had sighed thinking of all the things I had to do on this day (day of shredding) and the 2 hours I figured it would take me to get through this pile. Right then I started to figure out ways to do just a little bit now and a little bit later and a little bit even further down the road like tomorrow. Damn it, here I was again trying to push it off for another time (again). This is also why I brought it downstairs because my wife would have a heart attack if I left her living room looking like this so I would be forced to take care of it. No! I thought to myself, It was now. I would have to deal with it right now.
There I stood trying to figure it out. Where do I start? How long will it take? Why did we let it get this far? Do we really need to shred at all? Notice, I still hadn't started working on the pile. I still hadn't started fixing the problem. I just moved it to the front. I put it in front of me. I took a picture of it knowing I would share it. I was wasting time avoiding the task (again). But how does this pile of paper reflect "life", you ask? I'm glad you asked.
How much stuff are we putting aside that we need to deal with but find excuses not to take care of it? I am willing to bet that for those who have read that question had a Rolodex of things run quickly through their minds as examples. We have unfinished business with family and friends. We have things unsaid, undone and downright avoided. We push them to the side for "later" and that never comes. Look at your belly? Is it bigger than you wished it to be? How many times have you started to do something about it? How many times have you pushed it to the side? If you think of all the things you were going to do as pieces of paper needing shredding how big would your pile be? This pile represents life. It represents the what we fail to take care of that we need to take care of. But it isn't just those things either, it runs deeper still because It is also about Self-care.
You see I look at this pile and think of my mind. How many things do I have on my mind that is cluttering it up? How many conversations am i having that needs to be recycled and put out? Look at the picture. I can't get to my chair because of the pile of paper. I literally can't relax with all that crap in-front of it. I can push it all to the side so I can sit down but it will all be within sight. Maybe I can hide it in a room somewhere until "later" but that is how I got here in the first place. This is how many of us live or day to day lives. We ignore the clutter and simply "add more" to the pile that we will take care of later. Eventually those very things block what helps us relax, helps us recharge or simply rest. Sure we can see the great picture in the back ground but how long will that last when we keep adding to the pile?
What we don't realize is that once we get use to "doing it later" we set a precedent of inactivity. How much harm can a little paper be? Again, look as if this was your mind. If this was the things you needed to clean up but kept waiting til later. It doesn't go away. In fact, it grows and grows and grows building an even bigger insurmountable pile. I instantly think of pictures like this: