“I finally figured out that not every crisis can be managed. As much as we want to keep ourselves safe, we can’t protect ourselves from everything. If we want to embrace life, we also have to embrace chaos.” ― Susan Elizabeth Phillips
My name is Julia and I have too much stuff. Most of the time, I keep it at bay by confining it to just one or two rooms in each home, but in the past few months of spending most of my time away, in hospital settings, things have gotten a bit…shall we say, out of control. My piles of stuff have begun to migrate out of closets and into maybe half the rooms of our homes. It’s making me a little bit crazy, but I’m also too exhausted to take anything but baby steps right now to clean it all up.
I’m in recovery, though…and with the “calm, caring and nonjudgmental” encouragement of Alys and others, I do look for big improvements in 2014. Meanwhile, I’m trying to give myself a bit of a break and embrace chaos. Much of what surrounds us in both our homes right now is the inevitable flotsam and jetsam of crisis and its aftermath; backlogged piles of mail, medical equipment and supplies to store or sort, and papers to file; cards and gifts to acknowledge and answer; growing to-do lists filled with cumulative weeks of neglected tasks as well as added obligations related to our “new normal.”
So, I’ve had to remind myself of some priorities. First priority: survival, for all three of us. Second priority: sanity, ditto. Third priority: rest and recovery, especially important with more chemo for Jeff and Matt’s 5th open heart surgery on the near horizon. Given all this, we have accepted that things will be chaotic for awhile.
I’m almost certain that we aren’t the only ones feeling a bit overwhelmed by our blessings right now. If you find yourself in a similar situation, I hope you will join me in using this chaos as an incentive to welcome a new way of looking at things. As irritating as the mega-mess is, I can sense that it will act as a catalyst to pare down to something more closely resembling simplicity. I know I’ll never live a minimalist life, at least not anytime soon, but I also know I’m ready to make some significant changes in what I keep, where I keep it and how I think about it.
For now, though, I’m embracing chaos. I hope it’s a farewell hug and a kiss goodbye!
One year ago today