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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Coming to terms

You would think that, 2 years post-diagnosis and treatment, a 47 year 0ld female of average intelligence would have accepted the new path she was traveling and act accordingly. But this hard-headed Missouri-bred female seems to require monthly reminders that life is not the same, and won't ever be the same, so get used to it, and ACT ACCORDINGLY. Humph.
What brings on this moment of belly-button contemplation are the virtual/digital/real piles of ideas and projects that I finally raised my head to look at this week. Oh, they have been there - you can count on that. But I was expert at figuring I would 'get right on that' when the dust cleared from whatever other project I was working on. That wouldn't be the definition of 'procrastination' now, would it?
The first to go - major stuff in my office. I figure the library building no longer looks like that leaning tower Italy is known for. I am not done, but at least some of the stuff is out and recycled.
Second to go - messages in my Gmail account. If Google works faster for you today, just send a donation in my name to the ACCRF - I got rid of over 3000 messages this morning that dated back to 2006. F0und some that I had missed recently - the demands at work and multitasking have not led to good eyeballs for me this year.
Next to go - the stuff in my house. OMG. I can't die right now - I would be mortified for folks to see the place. I am not too thrilled to share it with the family members I live with, but we can't seem to train Lucky the dog to vacuum and file. Go figure.
The hardest part of facing the 'toss this pile' activities: getting rid of the potential projects/ideas that will never be. And that is not cancer-specific - that applies to anyone at any point in their lives. It has been easier to do recently, since I have documented just what I did accomplish in the past year or two, despite the huge upheavals in my life. Who am I to think I would have accomplished more or better without the cancer knocking at my door? Talk about ego... So it is time to lighten the load, and continue to concentrate on what is important and what can be accomplished. Yes, I do say 'no' more now than I did before June 2006. And yes, I think I actually do more now than before (but that may be that ego talking), despite having to step out once in a while to shove my head into an MRI machine. I don't know if I will ever be a contender for the Living Simple prize (go ahead and say it here: NO), but if I can reduce the crap in my home, I will be happier. I am willing to live with the possibility that I will need something next week that I throw away today - it will give me something else to shrug my shoulders at, and say, "that's life."
While it is hard to think that I may never accomplish some projects - say, to get Suze Orman to do a show on finances after cancer has hit the family (I have been emailing her about that), or Oprah to do a show on the importance of consumer health information and medical librarians in general (yeah, been emailing her a bit, too), I am so very glad that some of what I have written here has been of help to individuals that find themselves on similar paths to mine. Thanks for sharing this side of my new life, and making comments. Your interaction with this blog is very important to current and future readers.
Now, back to getting rid of some of the crap.


Unknown said...

Great post, Teri! This is a lot of the same stuff I've been dealing with (without the cancer part, so I figure if you can deal with it, so can I). If you do figure out how to train your dog to vaccuum, let me know - maybe there's hope for mine :-)

Dee said...

Hmm, Teri, I have the same problem with my work email - 2900 messages in my inbox and 3000 in my sentmail. I was able to erase or file on my hard drive 1100 messages on Thurs. I have several Leaning Towers to take care of, too.

But this week, with my son on vacation with his dad, my plan is to WRITE. The leaning towers will wait until next week.

Whew. I'm glad I'm not the only one with 3000 messages! What's that they say? Great minds think alike? He he he.

Wendy S. Harpham, MD said...

Hi Teri,
If you haven't seen the famous Randy Pausch "Last Lecture," it's worth watching if only for the line when he says you should never have more than five messages in your email inbox (and those five are the ones that have come in since the last time you were on email). It was an "aha" moment for me. I was one of those people who left messages in, reading them over and over without deciding how to respond. Now I DO something with each message, such as respond, refile in another folder or delete. It has made a huge difference in my sense of being cluttered.

My husband and I are "decluttering" our house, too. We started at the beginning of the summer and are making tremendous progress. One little space at a time. It feels GREAT.

keep at it,
With hope,

scraps said...

I love the idea of decluttering. What I want to know is, how do I get people to quit bringing things in? it seems that I know sooner get something put away or off my desk, then someone comes along with some things to go onto the pile.
Still, I'm glad to see you're doing well and figuring out how to deal with this whole leaning Tower problem. One of us has to!

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