Monday, December 15, 2014

It's Too Complicated!

Today's photo is a recent reflection at the Uncommon Objects Store on South Congress.

Today's Holidailies prompt is: "Today is Cat Herder's Day, a day to celebrate the times when things are overwhelming, and you feel as if you are trying to 'herd cats'. What in your life feels like herding cats, and how do you handle it?"

For the first sixty years of my life I sought to complicate things. I wanted more stuff. I wanted more experiences. I wanted to know more people. I embraced buying a home, landscaping, buying furniture and art and computer after computer, camera after camera (to capture those people and experiences). I threw parties and introduced the people I'd met to one another. I met other minds online and met some of those people in person. I mailed hundreds (well, at least more than a hundred) holiday cards, each year printing something complicated and, in my mind, clever. At work I got to know people and products and ideas.

Along the way we lost track of friends and even family. People died. Belongings began to lose their luster and were given away, discarded or sold. We downsized from about 3000 square feet and a garage with storage to a 1225 square foot apartment and a forty square foot storage cage. By the end of 2011 all our parents were gone and early in 2012 we had disposed of their belongings. (We still have the last home my parents lived in but we rent it out.)

But. Now I have this desire to simplify things.

I still want to meet people but I'm honestly circumspect about getting too involved with more people or their causes. I have trouble keeping up with the ones I know. A data base of people on my computer contains 655 individuals or families. Of course, I don't really remember who some of them are. (I have, I think, eliminated those who have left this world.) My facebook profile claims I have 864 friends at least one of whom is not still alive. I have friends who are not in the data base and not friends on facebook.

I have so many possessions albeit in a small space that I thought I would get organized in retirement (I've been retired twelve years) or after downsizing (I moved to the smaller place over six years ago) or for sure after handling the affairs and possessions of the parents (completed almost four years ago).

But. Life is still too complex. I need to make it even more straightforward. I need to concentrate my attention. How to do that?

Don't buy so many things. I now look askance at buying things. I may even occasionally discourage FFP from buying something although this is less frequent. When I was younger I would occasionally eliminate magazine subscriptions to simplify things. For me only The New Yorker has survived this cut but FFP subscribes to others off and on. I never get The New Yorker read. Ditto the three newspapers I still take. Sigh.

Get rid of stuff.  I do less well at this. I think too much about whether I should keep things and even if I'm convinced I shouldn't have it I fret over proper disposal.

Say No to Events and Causes. I have a tendency to accept invitations whether personal ones or for events associated with causes. We have eliminated season tickets for everything but the ballet, picking and choosing other performances. We have decided to stop buying badges for film festivals. (Well, for sure we won't for SXSW.) And yet we have something every night and two lunches between now and Sunday!

My life should be simple. I have downsized. I have retired from the working world where herding cats is putting it mildly especially in the computer business. And yet I'm often overwhelmed with things I want to be doing. And here I sit, trying to write a blog entry. Why did I decide to dally with Holidailies?

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