November 11, 2014

Subtraction and addition

Sort of last minute, I had the whole week off. One benefit of working all the crazy hours of tax season (which seems to stretch out to nine months) is getting to bank a little comp time for when it slows down. I have a few weeks saved up, and to work around other people's vacations, I was told to take last week off.

Since I was short on planning time (and disposable vacation money), I didn't go anywhere. It became a week to take care of projects that have fallen by the wayside. Cleaning the apartment, reading the stack of articles set aside, finishing reading a book, etc. I did get to see my brother and niece in a play, ran a 5k with friends, watched a couple of football games with different friends, and hosted some biking/brewing buddies for a brew day. Writing it all out it seems busier and less solitary than it felt. Brain probably isn't focusing on what it should.

The major project though was whittling down the stuff in storage to see if I could downsize. When we sold the house, I threw much of my stuff in storage, temporarily I thought. Then a couple months later, I moved to San Diego for a few years. So everything just sat. After I moved back and into my own place again, the big pieces came back out. It was an interesting and almost fun experience rediscovering parts of what I had left behind. My memory never being terribly good, it was easy to be surprised by things I had forgotten.

Then life/work got busy, and to be honest, I got lazy. The remainder of what was in that rented garage was left to sit. Part of it was that with each pass through, the decision of what is still important becomes more difficult. I am a pack rat by nurture and nature, so there was a lot to go through. Even though I was in and out of there every month or so to grab gear or tools, I really didn't know what was all there hidden away in those boxes. Now with a week with nothing on the schedule, it was time.

Frankly there weren't many painful surprises of love lost hidden away. It was more an exercise of deciding when and what to call quits on. Sports I will likely not participate in like skiing and softball, tools inherited from my former father-in-law that I have not used, the extra chair or sleeping bag, the motorcycle unridden, the files from my failed venture into real estate and lending, school books, bank statements and on and on.

By the end of the week, I had take a truckload each to Goodwill and to the dump, and a couple of large boxes to the shredder. The weather cleared up on Friday, and I moved what remained into a unit half the size, which saves me $100 a month. There are still things in there that need to go (like the motorcycle) but what remains is a more focused, organized set of still current passions - camping, hiking, building.

A couple of other pursuits have slipped from "passion" to "should be doing", but I am having difficulty getting my mojo back. I ran the 5k the first Sunday, and have some more on the calendar, but I need to get running back to an every-other-day habit. The other "should be" of course is writing. It is no secret the posting has been pretty damn sporadic here, and this month I am getting daily email reminders of what I am not doing. It is NaNoWriMo time once again. I have thrown my hat in the ring the last four years to spend the month writing dangerously. That first magical year, I wrote what would become Share the Road. Getting to 50,000 words in a month, all the subsequent work and then getting it in print was an amazing feeling.

Each year since has been a series of misfires. I was excited to take it on that second year, but stalled out at 30,000 words. Subsequent years were less inspired, and I mostly made the effort at the egging on from my friend Sean. He didn't throw down the challenge this year, and I am mostly glad. The magic just isn't there right now. I am still getting those daily email reminders from the NaNoWriMo website and community, however. They are messages filled with enthusiasm about creativity, and just plunging and seeing what happens. I am not ready to join in right now, but I will let them keep poking at me to prod me back up off the couch.

I am not ready to cart this off to the land of recycled passions just yet. It made the cut, and I will open up that box more than just once every few months.

It was a cleansing week and I am feeling a bit leaner. For all the subtraction this week, there was one notable addition. I have my CPA license back. After fitting in 120 hours of classes and taking ethics twice (I am now extra ethical), it became official last week. I stepped away fifteen years ago, and I guess it was one more thing that sat in storage all this time.

I am glad I didn't throw that away.

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