I hate Reality TV. In fact, I am not a big TV watcher as it is. Seems that life is too short to sit around watching other folks have a pretend life when I want to be having a real one. But … one show that has captured my attention for a few hours has been “Hoarders.” Have you seen it? I don’t recommend it. It is just plain awful. But I have to admit, I feel shamedly drawn to it … probably because I can relate. Now, before you go thinking that my family and I live in a trash heap, this is not the case. I regularly throw out old newspapers and plastic clamshell boxes from the local take-out. I even get to those dust bunnies in the corner now and again. But ask me to find a phone number or a receipt and I will scratch my head in embarrassed dismay. Ask me what those piles are behind my desk, I will tell you that is my “I’ll-get-to-it-someday-pile.” You know … the stack of books I want to read, the accumulated scraps of paper that have scribbled on them some thought or idea I wanted to remember or the magazine clippings with the shiny pictures of all the places I want to travel someday. All in a heap, all waiting my attention.
I never used to be this way. In fact, I prided myself on my OCD qualities. Organized? Check. Neat handwriting. Check. Lists made and crossed-off. Check. Every dish clean and put away. Check. Laundry caught up and ready to be worn. Check. So, what the hell happened to the “I’m-on-top-of-it-all” me? Life, I guess. It got busier and my plate more full. The kids are yelling. The pug needs a walk. The car is making an unusual noise. Bills are due yesterday. Dinner needs to get on the table. Not to mention, my aging body that needs maintenance. Overload and maximum capacity are the new order of the day.
So, with this shift in reality, my healthier self says to concede defeat. Raise the white flag. Surrender to the chaos that has become the new me. Admit that I am one of those disorganized chrones who never gets it all done. That I need to let go of this false image that my life is perfect and accept my often out of control, always unfinished business. That the “good enough” me is living in this moment … making choices about what I am doing … which might mean disappointing myself and others with unmet expectations. The mess is here to stay and there are just some things I am never going to get around to doing.
That being said, pity the person who goes through my belongings after I die. I can only hope that it is a person with some compassion – or at least a sense of humor – as they sort through the remnants of my life. Maybe I will even be lucky enough for them to give me the benefit of the doubt, a positive spin to my varied collections … one that says, “this woman lived life!” Not only did she die with five projects on her desk, but she milked each moment for whatever she could.
Meanwhile, I vow not to give up. My pathological tenacity is quite embedded and can be seduced by the hope in someday. There still might be that dull rainy day in the future when I have the wherewithall finally to tackle my heaps. I am sure by then I will have no use for whatever it is or even remember what it was that made me hang on to such things. But just in case, the assemblage is there … waiting … until I am ready to let go.