If I said this photo shows what my desk looks like, many people would shudder. In some people’s eyes, this would equal disorganization or poor planning. Well, my desk is covered with stacks of books, folders, papers, coffee cups, and assorted writing implements, and it isn’t the only place that looks like this. My workstation at home and my bedside table also house the likes of this mess. Even though I may occasionally pine for less clutter in my life, I continually add new items to the hodgepodge.
Learning feeds my soul. Each book, page of random notes, or coffee-stained printout represents a thread of interest that I will tie back to everything I do. While apparently random to an observer, my mind can connect nearly any nugget of information to at least five seemingly irrelevant ideas or activities. It’s what my brain does.
I also collect hobbies – in bins full of art supplies, books on techniques, new and interesting tools. I cycle through them randomly as the urge strikes. My husband will attest to the fact that I don’t dabble in hobbies, I throw myself into them like my life depends on it and then leave them in my wake when the next impulse hits.
I used to try to maintain order for the sake of others, but any amount of effort toward clearing the surfaces was wasted time. I need my piles and notes to surround me in ideas I can pick up and run with when a free moment appears. I contain my messes to specific places though. I don’t want to end up with my own, personal episode of Hoarders or Intervention.
So what does this have to do with authentic living? Everything!
I used to look at photo spreads of people’s homes in magazines and think, “No one lives like that!” With perfectly placed decorative pillows and their books placed perfectly on shelves by size or color. Come on! Were we supposed to aspire to this “perfection”? After denigrating myself for not having any interest in meeting this ideal, I realized this was yet another false reality being pushed on us by the media to sell stuff. (Maybe if I had that bookshelf and cuter pillows and a nice area rug…) No thanks. I want the stuff that catches my interest and I want it to be right there in front of me.
So here I am now, in my authentically cluttered space living MY life. No bookshelves, just piles. Decorative pillows that came with the bed-in-a-bag set tossed onto my couches for comfort (they sort of match). My own art, some of it complete crap, slapped on the walls. Collecting ideas and skills as I stumble through this amazing life I’m creating.
What does your amazing life look like?