I’ve just moved house. It was exhausting and exhilarating. I sorted: keep, donate, sell. I packed: with the help of dear friends. I moved: with the help of dear friends and a great moving company. I am unpacking: with the help of dear friends and a lot of personal muscle! It feels very empowering to take such a level of personal control over my life: this is the first house that I have bought myself and that I will run myself, which is very exciting.
As I packed, I followed the Kon-Mari method where you collect a pile of all of a particular category into one room and then sort, essentially picking up each item and holding it and seeing if it sparks joy (keep it) or not (dump it). If you do it room by room, you don’t realize how much you have within each category: you have to be disciplined and gather it all together. This worked really well for things like books, lamps, clothes, kitchen items and kitchen electrical goods and for the first few weeks.
But, I got to a point where I couldn’t make any more decisions – I was overwhelmed by how many decisions I had had to make for me and my three kids, in such a short time, and of course there was a huge emotional element to all these decisions. I was sorting through belongings that I had accumulated before and during my failed marriage, so inevitably I found myself processing and thinking.
I discovered that there were particular soundtracks that helped me through this: Adele 25 was just what I needed to listen to when I needed to weep. When I needed a pick me up, I listened to the Book of Mormon soundtrack, which invariably makes me laugh out loud. When I needed to sing with angry passion and just get stuff done, I listened to P!nk, Katy Perry’s Roar, Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger. When I needed to keep moving and be super efficient, I listened to my old UK dance and house albums, like Boy George DJing at the Ministry of Sound. If I just needed to chill and get through a tedious task, like shredding (and I shredded 8 garbage bags worth of old documents), I listened to the oldies and goodies like the Stones, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone or Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats.
The night before the moving trucks arrived, I was shifting electrical goods and cleaning around them and then coiling up all the TV/DVD/Roku/Phone Charger/Xbox/Printer etc cables, with the aim of taping the relevant cables to the back of its recipient if possible or creating a big tupperware of random and/or currently unidentified cables. There was this large, long, orange insulated extension cable, plugged into the dehumidifier in the basement. It was about 11pm and I’d been on my feet packing and sorting and cleaning since 4am. I stopped and had a sip of tea and looked at the cable. Why am I spending 10 mins trying to unravel this cable and tie it up with those plastic cable tags?
It suddenly occurred to me that this cable was a metaphor for so much of my life:
~ when do you toss the cable in a box with the deferment plan (I’ll get to that… later)
~ when do you get angry and pull and tug and swear at it and give up
~ when do you sit patiently and unravel the cable
~ when do you do a cost/benefit analysis and realize that it’s just not worth it right now, but you’ll make a definite plan to deal with it or realize that it’s frankly not worth the time and effort to unravel it – it’ll still work fine with a few knots in it, or I can donate it to goodwill and get a new one. Etc etc.
So many possible outcomes: but the key is to take the time to consider. Next time you’re faced with a decision, however major or minor, take a moment to think about whether it’s worth unravelling the cable.
Copyright Tamsin Astor, YogaBrained LLC 2016