Blog

Stories from a life in progress.

Mess

"Why are you throwing that on the floor?"

Last week I needed to do some administrative odds and ends, and Smiley Boy was dawdling around watching, waiting for me to finish so we could go play.  I didn't expect his question, because I didn't consciously recognize that I was, in fact, dropping things on the floor.  Empty envelopes, scraps of paper, other bits and pieces.

"Because I know everything on the floor is something I don't need, and everything here on my desk is something I need to keep.  See, now that I'm done I will pick up all of the paper on the floor and throw it away."

It's true.  When I'm working on some tasks, especially ones that look like sorting and decluttering, there's always a mess on the floor.  Everything I don't want gets tossed in the direction of a heap.  The more work I do, the bigger the mess.  When I'm done and everything I want to keep is put away, the mess on the floor gets gathered up and disposed of properly.

Why make a mess on the floor?  Dunno.  It's what I've always done.  There's always floor handy, when there isn't always a trash can within reach, and dropping things on the floor takes less aim than putting them in a container.  Plus, I find something satisfying in making this kind of a mess.  Especially a nice big mess.  It shows me the scale of what I'm accomplishing, I suppose, and then the room looks so much nicer when everything is tidied away, after there was a big temporary mess in the middle of it.

My floor today is in fine shape.  But at the end of this month, the rest of my life feels like a mess.

Nothing resembling a regular schedule has happened for weeks.  None of my routines are in place.  I needed to deal with administrative things last week because they were falling behind, and I'm not actually caught up.  I'm coping with work deadlines one at a time, mostly at the last minute.  I have no idea what non-deadline work I want to take on, ought to take on, or need to take on.  Even when I take time to relax, sometimes it's hard to figure out what to do.

A big mess.  I am not sure what to make of the scattered bits and pieces.  But I'm thinking, maybe this mess signifies a need to do some cleaning up.  Maybe some of the things scattered across the "floor" need to be thrown out, rather than put back just as they were.  Maybe it's time to take stock of what I want to keep and reorganize it.

Maybe a life in a state of mess is an opportunity to create a more cohesive whole out of the disparate parts.  Maybe it is.