Life in a million little pieces

I spent a good part of my morning sitting in the car dealership waiting for some recall-related service work, watching Boomer Esiason (seriously?) cohost Regis & Kelly and listening to the old guy next to me burp repeatedly (and not excuse himself — sorry, age doesn’t make that OK). It was good to get back to my office, even though it’s shred-fest time. Every year I go back and shred my tax info from 8 years prior. So this year, I’m shredding my 2004 work life.

I dread the annual shred, which takes several days to make sure I don’t blow up my shredder and never fails to leave little bits of paper all over everything, no matter how careful I am.

Like sands through the hourglass (and paper through the shredder), so are the days of our lives.

Anyone else remember that? I grew up watching soaps — some of my earliest memories are of having to take an afternoon nap (until I was 6 and in first grade!), during which time I was not allowed up until 3:30 or something. I used to crouch at the top of the stairs and listen for one of the soaps to come on (could have been Days of Our Lives, could have been Another World), so I knew it was OK for me to get up. Of course, I’m sure the daily nap “for my own good” was really so my poor mom could lie down and rest for a bit between doing the wash (worsh), cleaning, cooking, etc., etc. for our family of nine.

It’s interesting, though, as I shred old check stubs and such, to see what I was working on “back then.” In 2004, I was working with a company who managed its contractors through an outside firm, so I have many stubs from an intermediary I had forgotten all about and can’t even recall which client the work was for. (Which is a little scary, since 8 years is not that long ago.) And I was living in a different house and Mike and I were only dating. OK — so now it does feel like a long time ago.

I’m also having the usual post-holiday, “Oh my God I’ve got to get rid of some of this crap!” anxiety and scanning the house for things I can toss or donate. While I see plenty of things, most are not mine to dispose of (ahem) so will have to stay. But it bothers me to know that we could empty this house of half its contents and never miss them! Attic stuff, basement stuff, closet stuff, drawer stuff — so much stuff. It’s suffocating. [Make that “stuffocating” — brilliant, Mel!]

But now I’m merely procrastinating. It’s time to get back to the shredding, de-Christmasing, thinking about exercising, halfhearted organizing, and general life contemplation that are as much a part of January as playoff season. Oh. Wait. That didn’t work out so well either.

You have succeeded in life when all you really want
is only what you really need.

~ Vernon Howard