Dug up a lot of buried recycling in the garage today. It is amazing how much space poorly organized crap can expand to fill.
This was the third or fourth week that I spent a concerted effort to get large amounts of recycling out onto the curb. And today I could see the floor. I even swept. And a car will fit in the garage. Bonus.
Also, I am borrowing my brother's truck for a few weeks. I have high hopes that I will take at least one load of stuff to the dump. Although I have been warned not to do more than one load at a time.
The incredibly unsurprising revelation is that it feels better to do something about the mess than to just look at it and despair. It also feels better to not try to do everything at once. Things will still get done. In fact they are more likely to get done if I adhere to the whole slow and steady wins the race than if I try to marathon it out and do everything at once.
I also did more than just realize that I need to cut back on my commitments-- I actually followed through on cutting back. I need room to breathe. It was surprisingly easy to say no.
This reminds me, oddly enough, of the stupidest thing I have ever done...
When I was a student at a summer program at St. John's Univesity (as an adult, mind you), I was taking a walk near Lake Sagatagan with a friend.
"That's a big lake."
"It's not that big."
"I could totally swim across it."
While experiencing some nameless creeping rage (caused, I think, by a change in my antidepressants; I should find out what they were at the time) I decided to go for an angry walk around the lake to blow off some steam. At least that was the plan. If it hadn't been for the biting flies... They weren't horseflies. They were those horrible little blackflies that cause welts and make you bleed when they bite. They were so thick that when I clapped my hands together I killed five at a time.
I got halfway around the lake to an old abandoned chapel and couldn't take it any more. For some reason the flies didn't follow me into the chapel (although there were no doors or windows). But as soon as I left the enclosure of the stone walls they were back, eager for my blood.
I was halfway around the lake. The path was equally long no matter which way I went. And the flies were driving me mad. So much for a calming walk around the lake to recover my equilibrium. I looked out across the lake and remembered my conversation. It's not that big. I could totally swim across it.
Soon I found myself in the middle of the lake, with both shores equally distant. I was wearing cargo shorts, my Chaco sandals and my glasses, so I didn't want to get my head wet. I am a strong swimmer. In fact I am a (lapsed) licensed lifeguard. Which means I knew enough not to do what I was doing.
I NEVER swam without someone watching me. I certainly didn't venture into unknown water as night was falling wihen no one knew I was anywhere near the lake. At this point I noticed, what with the drag produced by my shorts, the inefficient kicking of my sandals and the fact that I kept my head out of the water to avoid losing my glasses... I was getting tired.
In fact I had stopped swimming horizontally and was swimming vertically. I was the lifeguard training video's example of "distressed swimmer." And this is how strong swimmers drown, I thought. I panicked. I splashed frantically, trying to reach shore as fast as I could before I went under. I wondered if my body would wash ashore on such a small lake or if it would sink with the weight of my heavy clothes. CRAP. People would think I did this on purpose! They would think I drowned because I was Depressed and swam out into the lake. Damn it!
I went under. I swallowed a gulp of water. And everything was quiet. There was no longer the sound of splashing or the frantic clatter of my thoughts. It was just still. And then I remembered: I can float.
I can float. I could float all day and all night if I had to. I resurfaced and floated on my back to catch my breath. (Did I mention I had asthma and my breathing wasn't doing so well?) I had never realized that there was such a strong psychological element to drowning. I was psyching myself out and the panic was causing me to flounder.
I figured it could work both ways. I told myself that my friend was watching me from shore. I pretended that the canoe behind me was serving as a spotter as well. I gave up getting to shore as quickly as possible and decided to get there as slowly as possible-- with forward movement.
I made it to shore. I barely had the energy to walk up the steep hill to the dorms. And when I reached my friend's room (which was on the first floor) I told him that I would only sleep in my own room if he carried me and the spare mattress up two flights of stairs.
The following morning the only lasting injury I had was a nasty bruise on my right hand where my wedding ring hit as I clapped my hands together to kill flies on my walk.
Grateful Crap: a brother who lends me a big truck (that really almost fits in our garage as long as it holds its breath), a brother who has supplied an excellent cousin for my children, a break from the heat, students who think I am the best teacher they have ever had, the ability to say no and finding that the universe does not implode
Quaker, teacher, parent,