#reverb 11: clearing out


Prompt: 12 Things - What are 12 things your life doesn’t need in 2012?
How will you go about eliminating them?
How will getting rid of these 12 things change your life?
If you did Reverb10, how are you making out on your 11 Things from last year? (Sam Davidson)

When I took the Mondo Beyondo class last year, one of the topics was about making room for new experiences, new friends, and new ways of thinking. I've been wanting to make some homemade gifts for a while but my kitchen table was full of mail and wedding presents and all kinds of other stuff. So last night, I cleared it off. I made fruit salsa for a department lunch today and plan on doing a lot more creating this week.  If our lives, our thoughts, our routines are cluttered, there is no room for anything else. We remain static. 

 Every year, I look around my life and realize how full it is, in a lot of great ways. But it's also full in ways that are not so productive, as well. Periodically, we have to make room for amazing things to come our way. My word for 2012 is tend, and making a clearing is part of that process. So, here are 6 things I am clearing out and 6 things I'd like to invite into the space left behind. 

1. Magazines. I'm not kidding, I must get 12 different magazines a month. I'm letting these subscriptions run out and then I'm done. I don't read them all as it is. I maybe read 3 religously, but even then I can live without them. 

2. People trying to make their issues my problem. From students to family members and random people I run into, I refuse to take responsibility for other people's issues. There's a great line in Practical Magic where the older, wiser aunts tell the two main characters "clean up your own mess." That's kind of how I feel about people asking me to entertain their drama. I no longer have the emotional energy. I can only be responsibile for my own thoughts and actions. 

3. Envy/Comparison. I often compare my situation to others. I wish I could write like him/her. I wish I'd gotten that award, instead. I am envious of the picture I see from outside. I often want too much. I want that shirt a celebrity wore in a movie; I want that life of not having to worry about money. I want that car I'll never afford and even if I could probably wouldn't buy because it is impractical. But I want. It isn't that I think I would be happy if I had those abilities or material goods. At my core, I know life is not about that. Comparison is everywhere. Reality TV is built on comparison and advertising's driving force is envy. I play into this more than I want to. 

4. Books I keep meaning to read but never will or books I've been hanging on to since Grad school that I haven't opened. I have a lot of books. A lot. And though I don't buy as many as I used to and try to recycle, give away or sell the ones I do once I'm done, I still have more than I need. I've been dragging them around from house to house, office to office. I gave about 10 boxes away during the last move and I need to give away more. 

5. Hanging on to what might have been. 

6. The notion that I am in control. Though I am much better than I used to be, I still find myself worrying about scenarios in the future and trying to control or plan out my reactions or what I'd do. One of the things the surprises of this year taught me is that you there are always things/events/scenarios that you don't see coming. My blog was hacked this year and I decided to move my blog from its original location where it had lived for almost 6 years. I had no plan in place for such an issue or for 6 years of writing that were stored on the blog. More recently, my grandmother fell ill. Right now, my grandmother is in and out of the hospital and there's very little consistency in her condition from one day to the next. Definitely did not see that coming. 

Last year, I sought to eliminate the following 11 things:

1. Doubt. I struggled with this for a good portion of the year. I think it's always going to be something in the back of my mind, but I'm working on recognizing it, and not letting it sabotage me. 
2. Debt: I made some headway here but as always, there's more to be done.
3. Digital Clutter: I continually revised my RSS feeds, unfollowed on Twitter and unsubscribed from listservs and email lists. It's a constant battle in the age in which we live but it's loads better than it was. 
4. Doing things last minute: I'd give myself a B- for this. There were times I did better and times I just waited until the last minute. Again, I think this is a habit that will take a while to break.
5. Saying yes to everything: Oh yeah. I said "No" a lot this year. I said yes to things I wanted to do and some things that were important to do for friends, but I definitely scaled back on my commitments. 
6. Unrealistic Expectations: So much was going on this year, and I was surprised by how many people were there for me or jumped in to help when I needed it that I think my expectations were quite altered this year and much more realistic and at times, I had no expectations at all. 
7. Unused Rooms: The guest room had its moments of being a guest room and moments of being a storage facility. 
8. Worry: Still working on this. See #6 for this year.
9. SHOULD: Another in progress goal, but it's better. 
10. Drama: See #2 above. There were definitely moments I let it get to me and other moments when I refused to hear it. Overall, there was more than I cared to handle this year. 
11. Assuming the worst: I was less consumed by this than I normally am but it definitely hangs around with doubt in the back of my mind. 

Since I've been in the process of and continue to make a clearing, here are 6 things I'd like to invite into my life into 2012. 

1. Success redefined. I would like to feel a sense of accomplishment in 2012. In 2011, I recognized that there were some things in my life I needed to redefine, or cut out completely if I'm going to grow the way I want to. I also realized I needed to tend to relationships that were supportive, put energy into myself, and find the various habits, words, people, and things that nourish, encourage and thrill me. So in order to be on the watch, I need to redefine success for myself. I've been able to do this pretty well personally but not professionally. That's something I'd like to change.

2. More creative outlets. As I mention above, I want to invite into my life habits that make me happy. I'd like to discover more creative outlets or ways to combine the ones I have now. I want to continue taking photographs, listening to music, but I'd also like to write more, maybe get back to poetry. 

3. Adventure. This is a dangerous one because you never know what you're getting when you ask for adventure. Still, I have the feeling I'm on the verge of something and as long as I have Michelle by my side, I think I'm up for it. There's a reason farmers rotate where they plant crops each season; staying in the same place (figuratively or literally) can rob you of nutrients you need to grow. So, while I'm apprehensive to invite adventure in its various forms into my life, I also think it's time.

4. Continue to cultivate good relationships. Friendships are important to me. And they take time. So I would like to make room for mutual relationships, and make time to continue to devote energy to the ones I've made so far that mean a great deal to me. I want people to know how important they are. 

5. Renewal. I want to let go of those things in the lists above. I want to move forward with a renewed sense of myself, my purposes and my heart. 

6. Readers. Reverb has allowed me to read and converse and make connections that I wouldn't have otherwise found. I'd like to be able to continue to cultivate those connections, to continue to inspire and be inspired by others through blogging. I'd like to have more readers.