Archive for January, 2014

There I am!

I was still trying to take control of all the things I wish to achieve this year, well, at least start to make sense of some of them. It wasn’t until this week when I’d had a lot of re-arranging to do ( furniture, rooms, hobbies) that the de-cluttering process that I was fighting to continue decided to lend its own hand. Questions popped into my head saying things like ‘ what on earth do you need this for?’ as I was rearranging part of my ‘library’. It, that awe-ful (maybe awesome?) conscience bit of me, was taking control of my thoughts. The worse thing was – it was OK, really OK for the first time in my life and I smiled as I once again threw out more ‘stuff’. What a wonderful feeling! Not only that but losing a bit more ‘stuff’ made way for other things in my life, my creativity for example.

During the reorganisation and somewhere between Art, English studies and Spirituality I found the literary pocket of my brain hiding in the corner of the bookshelf twisting a finger in her hair and rocking gently. She looked up at me, smiled as if she knew I was coming and pointed to a large blue ringbinder laying horizontally on the bottom shelf. I looked cautiously not knowing what to expect, opened the folder slowly and there sat Conscience grinning at me and offering a piece of purple paper – Assignment 3 – Oh bother! ‘Over £300 you have three years to go, a year out is quite common, time to pick it up again!’ She was right. I haven’t picked up pen and paper for well over a year and I had paid a lot of money for a writing course. I’d let it slide among all the stuff, hidden and neglected at the back of my mind.

As if that was bad enough, I had lost the aforementioned assignment during all the reshuffling and I needed to find my organisational head to be able to locate student numbers, email addresses to make contact again in order to request a copy of the number four assignment. Far too easy to just ignore and store it away for another day but there is something about decuttering that makes room for these other things to take place. Things like completing forgotten tasks, putting papers into some sense of order and generally making things ‘right’. A scary thought came into my head… don’t old people do that? You know what I mean.. ‘I love visiting Grandma, all her photo’s are in books and not in jumbled boxes’ that kind of stuff.. I must be getting old! Oh dear!

I actually achieved the whole thing, apart from the reply of course, but I set up everything to pick up where I left off as soon as I get the paper. The writer in me was stirring wildly at the bottom of the murky pool but in coming to surface, unhindered by clutter, she is grasping at the lifeline being offered. A sense of satisfaction is creeping over me as all these little parts of me begin to merge and congratulate each other with grins and a great deal of patting on the back. Heavens, I’d even resurrected my Twitter Account, such organisation going on here.

Not bad for January, I’ve finished one and read another book and am well on time with my reading quest – a minimum of 12 books for 2014. Less time playing games and more on productive things like art and writing. What a waste of time! I like to think that this is the true beginning of this year and so far it has been a great success. Not least for the thoughts and ideas that have inspired me since I started decluttering my home, nor for the achievements, small as they are, that I am proud to have completed but more for the change in me as a whole person. Am I just accepting this new age? I think I can say it now – retirement… My forced retirement always left me with a hope that I might be able to go back to teaching but now slipping well into ‘past retirement age’ I am able to accept that the past is gone, look forward to a new future… Chucking out my resources at the beginning of the month gave me permission to let go of all the things that have held me back.  The nicest thing in the world was said to me just this week and confirmed my place in the world. This new era of retired, a Grandma, a lady with time to enjoy doing the things I always planned to do has me grabbing my pen and writing those wonderful words. Spoken by my 3 1/2year old grand daughter Millie  “Grandma, you are my best friend.” I think I’ve arrived!

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Getting there!

I was thinking about those resolutions the other day, you know, the ones I might have written about had I thought for one second I would be able to keep them for more than a few weeks. All those good intentions about decluttering for one, there goes that thought again and in the next second I am revaluating all the ‘things’ that bind me to a commitment. Funny, there’s a change this year that’s got me thinking, some might call it procrastination but I firmly believe that even procrastination has it’s purpose. I mean where did all the great thinkers get their ideas from? I’m willing to bet that they started out with procrasting somewhere along the line.

So why do I have this butterfly mind when I really want to be focussed on something. I know I am capable of concentrating, I have books and stories I have written, paintings hanging on walls, a brood of amazing offspring, all telling me I can do this. Perhaps it’s an age thing? I wonder. That has always been my problem ..wondering… until now that is. I can’t put my finger on it but something this year has changed, my thoughts are focussed, I am even achieving things. very gradually but never the less, they are being crossed off my list. Still that question, why now? what has made me accept that these things are no longer so important that they control the way I think about them?  It was only a few months ago that, had you told me to get rid of all the stuff ( don’t you just love that word – stuff!) my heart would have sunk and I would have wallowed in the memories that held them dear to me resulting in a total panic and loss of the ability to reason with myself. Yet suddenly everything really has changed.

Not wishing to be morbid but, as I am getting older and struggling to cope with a disability that frustrates me, I got to thinking what would happen if I died. All my stuff would mean nothing to anyone else but me and worse than that, they, my kids, would have to go through it all. I have recently been looking through papers and documents that belonged to my mother who passed away just over a year ago. I discarded a good two thirds of writing, early drafts from one folder of college work that she undertook in her seventies but the  other third contained writing that was irrreplaceable. She wrote about her childhood, her parents, what it was like to be a child of seven when war broke out, her school, her father, her grandfather and different characters in her childhood memories. As I read them I realised that  these few papers were really worth keeping. They contained information that can never be recovered, a connection to three older generations!  My ancestors and their history. How many papers and written stuff ( that word again) is there of mine? I can tell you vast amounts and a lot, like my mother’s work, are rough drafts but if my kids are like me they will be interested in my autobiography and the little blog type diary entries I wrote from when they were growing up. I think I need to condense the whole lot into a readable book that they will be as delighted to read as I was my mother’s writing.a A big challenge for me.

Last week I went through all my teaching resources, university notes, books and papers that I’d loved writing and reading through and I am proud to say I kept only one folder of a course that I want to read again. Resource books, curriculum guidelines, dyslexia training too, all the trappings of teaching in fact… I threw them all away without even thinking twice and I felt better.

Have I finally let go of ‘things’? That stuff that was important to me, so important that I couldn’t let it go before now no longer had that hold on me. It felt good! But what had made me hang on to it for so long? What was I afraid of? Have I just accepted finally that I am not going back to teaching? I think inside me I was always hoping for a miracle that would enable me to go back to work and maybe I still needed everything – just in case. Maybe I have finally come to the realisation that my life has taken a different turning that doesn’t include stuff of the past, I don’t know, but one thing is for sure, I suddenly feel freer than I have ever felt before. It’s not that I have lost hope, more that I can let go and not hang onto the past and that I am finally accepting the change that made me retire early. I can say ‘I am retired’ at last.

Now I feel that finally I am owning my life. I am beginning to feel the freedom I should have had years ago. I have books of resources still to go through but these are going to be harder. In my head I will go through them and put together a couple of good packs of resources and take them to the college, after all it took me a lot of hours sourcing them and organising them into subjects, ability, etc. They would save another lecturer a lot of time and effort. Then the other half says let them go.. I’m still torn on that one but am working on it.

Meanwhile, as this is only my second blog entry for the new year, I still need to write two more before February, an entry a week is a more realistic target for me. There is still a loft full of my past to be cleared out too. Hmmm, time to organise my procrastinating for once and for all. I can do this!

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