Day 79 – Define Your Why

Now this might be an interesting way to look at your need for organization.  One thing I have learned in 40 years is that every goal you ever had starts with a very simple question:  why?  You must define your why in order to start.

In my personal case, I thought organizing my apartment was about getting a hold on my clutter.  It seemed like a logical reason.  When I moved to Florida I had a suitcase full of clothes.  Eventually we had air mattresses, a couple of tables and a TV.  The most important thing we brought was our cell phones and my daughter’s mini laptop.  Logically, as we brought more things and purchased more things, the apartment got crowded.  And then, three years in, I went to Puerto Rico and got half of my stuff in boxes to Florida.

I have given away, thrown away and sold many things.  There was no rhyme or reason to my efforts.  There are many goals and dreams I want to accomplish, and all the other ones have a why.  It dawned on me recently that I had not defined my why to the point where it was working for me.

There are two things that are really important to me right now:  my health and my sanity.  Both of them have been compromised in recent months.  My health has had some major hurdles and as a consequence, my sanity has hit some snags as well.  I am having trouble concentrating and remembering things, which is not good when you work in a highly regulated field where everything you do is verified for accuracy.

After supposedly recovering from surgery, I find myself at home again, recovering for what may be a side effect of medication or a warning from my body that I have not healed yet.  Either way, I am home indefinitely.  I noticed that as I clear areas of the house, my family members are getting on the bandwagon and whatever area I clean, they keep that way.  I also noticed that the hardest area to deal with is my bedroom.  And so last night, I started thinking about my why.

I know why I accumulate stuff:  it gives me comfort from the inner demons that I have been able to discover one by one.  The bullies of my youth have become the bullies in my head and little by little, I am working through those in an effort to improve my life and that of all other women that feel like me.  The main bully is inadequacy.  Women tend to feel like they are not good enough for some reason.  In my case, I have always been smart.  I grew up in an era where women were beginning to discover their brains.  I guess the message is not sinking in yet that it is OK to be smart.  I don’t feel like I deserve many things because I am a woman.  Although in my head I believe this is nonsense, somewhere in my heart I still carry some of that feeling that I am less than.  The other bully is the one about beauty.  I used to be beautiful when I was young and I never admitted that to myself for two reasons:  vanity is not a good thing and if I am so beautiful, why do I have so many bullies calling me “witch”.  Witches are not pretty.  So there are my two biggest demons out in the open.  And my stuff, which is usually books, is a comfort from both of those demons.

The why I can’t get organized is a little trickier.  It is not about having stuff.  I can always buy organizing units and put it all away neatly.  I believe that it is time to let go of some of my comforts.  My health demands it.  In this process that I am right now, getting rid of things, including comfort food and belongings, is like a death.  I’ve had too many deaths in my life.  I’m just not sure I want to deal with another one.  And so, I hold on to my stuff and to my clutter, because if I don’t get rid of it all, I am not killing my comfort.

So I ask you: what is your why?  Do you know why you can’t get rid of the cigarettes, the overspending, the food addiction?  Whatever your demon is hides a good reason that you must deal with in order to get rid of your misbehavior.  Share with us what that is on the comments section below.  If you like this message, share it with a friend and help her figure out what her demon is as well.  Thanks.