Cleaning Out My Closet

It’s a new year. The last few years of my life have been a never-ending carnival of change. Both good and bad change, both changes of choice and changes foisted upon me. But all of it constant upending change. For FOUR YEARS. I’ve had 4 jobs in the last year–for a variety of reasons. I generally don’t talk about work online at all, and I won’t go into a lot of detail here, but to sum up: The first was a short-term assignment that I had hoped would turn permanent. The second was a bad decision all the way around, except for a few really lovely people that I met and grew to appreciate and respect. And the drive sucked. The third job was ok, but there were some frustrations. And the drive sucked. I’m lucky enough to be in a position for which there is quite a bit of demand, so I have some flexibility (three calls from headhunters just yesterday!).

Finally, I’ve settled in somewhere much closer to home where I feel part of a team, but also am given a lot of independence. Part of me was wishing, all along, that I hadn’t left the job I had when I had Colin. Unfortunately the gains I made in the salary and benefits department could not be ignored. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all about the money–after all, this position pays slightly less than the last one, but the intangibles were worth it to me. And did I mention the drive sucked? But I have two kids and a husband and a dog and a house and all, so a good salary is nothing to sneeze at. Besides, it means I can give more and experience more with my boys (little and big). The amazing trip that we went on this summer (a post on which will be forthcoming) was possible because we could afford to take 12 days off work.

Anyway, I digress, which is sort of the point of this post anyway. Constant change does something to a person. I’ve discovered that I’ve sort of had a hard time settling into any good new habits or even reestablishing good old habits. From the time Colin was born, I have been spinning through my days and sliding through my nights. I feel like nothing I do has 100% of my attention. Ever. It’s not that I don’t wish to concentrate, it’s just that so much of my world is messy and unfinished. I don’t have this sense of internal or external calm. I am constantly forgetting things and letting attention to things that I feel are really important drop off in favor of being able to just vegetate because I am constantly stressed about what I am not accomplishing. The very definition of irony, no? Doing nothing because you have anxiety about what you’re not doing?

Well, forget all that. I want to find some peace and I want to feel alive and vibrant again. I am working toward it, and writing more is part of it, but I also know that I need to get the Mt. Everest of laundry done, so I can minimalize our textile burden. I also need to reorganize my kitchen cabinets, so half-full bags of brown sugar doesn’t fall on my head and 13 x 9 pans don’t clatter out onto my floor every single time I open one of them. I know what I have to do. I just have to do it.

And in order to just do it, I’ve got some immediate, concrete, well-thought-out and prioritized goals to help me find my peace and vibrancy, mostly about this blog, fleshing it out, building it up, sharing more with you, my dear readers. I’ve also got some goals about meditating daily and counting blessings. And Michael Moore has inspired me to take a walk every day–starting tomorrow. I’ve already committed to fewer things in the new year–I won’t be teaching a Saturday yoga class, for instance, just subbing here and there. Saturdays are the only days that my presence is not required somewhere on a regular basis. And I won’t be able to audition for the spring musical because rehearsals fall on nights that I do not have free, and cannot free up on a regular basis. I’m starting to learn that it’s okay to not do everything.

And I’m taking one of the first of my steps toward my goals–being a little confessional here. Yes, I’ve often talked about what life’s been like for me since Colin in dribs and drabs, but this is the ugly, regular parts of dealing with a world in constant turmoil. This is what happens when you realize that the last time you lived in the present was before your baby died. Seriously, it occurred to me, as I was rolling our time in the hospital around in my head thinking about the memoir I’m writing, that the last time I have been truly present was during that time. I was immersed in my son’s existence and immersed in my time at home when I wasn’t with him at the hospital.

But these days, I’m not so present and the lack of mindfulness has taken its toll. I’ve gained weight. My house is messy and dirty and needs decluttering (thanks to Deb Smouse, I have an email folder full of tips to do just that). I always feel like I’m spinning, but not in a good way, like when I’m hooping.

Tonight, I want to walk to my side of the bed on a bare, clear floor. I want to be able to find my shoes in the morning. I need to not have to pick through flip flops that should have been put away months ago. I have to find peace in my bedroom, if nowhere else. So, I’m going to clean out my closet.

But first, pancakes.

(Did I also mention that our family is in a documentary? More on that later this week!)

How about you? Are you seeking peace, or quiet, or stability? How are you going to slow your roll, like I need to slow mine?



  1. One of the best things about my recent move was that it forced me to streamline my life. I mercilessly and ruthlessly pared down my stuff, and Deb is right when she says it is so freeing. I’ve also pared down my obligations pretty mercilessly too, and may be doing even more of that in the coming year. I’ve realized just how much of the things that occupy my time are not fulfilling my needs or dreams, but other peoples. I’m committed to making this the year I focus on the dreams I have for myself, even if I haven’t figured them all out yet!

    • I’m so glad for you! I can’t wait to hear what all these dreams are. I gave away five bags of clothes a few weeks ago. I can’t wait to give away more!

  2. I wrote.a long comment and thanks to WordPress forcing you to log on every single time I use a different device I lost it. Now I will say that I can relate to your struggles.

    • Thank you, James. Sorry WordPress is being a pain. That will be changing soon, I think.

  3. Yeah, it worked finally

  4. Hello Rachel. I am home now on my MB so I should be able to comment now. What I was trying to tell you is that I can relate to life after losing a child. We lost a daughter to cancer back in 2001. She would have been 11 on 9/11. The pain is not as raw or intense as it was back then but it is not gone. Life does go on but our families will never be the same. I also wanted to say that I have been trying to step back from the Internet some. I have a place by the water that is close to my house. Someone named it My Happy Place on Foursquare. I have checked in so many times that I am now the mayor of My Happy Place. LOL It is the place I go to get away from people and the Internet. I love going to McDonalds and getting a wrap and a diet dr pepper and then sitting there listening to the water lap against the shore. It has a calming affect on me. I hope you find the same on your walks.

    • Thank you for sharing your daughter with me and my readers. I am hoping to have that same calm on my walks.

  5. I love this and all of your goals. If I can help you in any way, I’m here.

    • Thank you so much. I am so grateful for your offer of help. I promise if I think of anything, I’ll let you know.

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