I've thought for a couple of days about how I could compose a wonderful, inspiring blog for January 2 that would have your raring to go in the new year. But I'm still yawning and tired from all the holiday activity, and I'm feeling like I'm still hauling a load from 2007.
I'm not big on setting a resolution for a new year -- they are too quickly broken -- and if I can't keep a promise to myself, then how can I keep them to others?
But I will say that I have a goal in 2008 to PURGE! Bit by bit.
The obvious first purge would be a wealth of extra pounds that have crept back upon my body in what seems like an overnight reconnaissance mission. I let loose between Thanksgiving and the New Year, and am I happier for it? NO! Truly they have gotten there because I've been lazy about all things, including exercise, food choices, and health conscious habits. First step was to start a gentle 60-day cleanse yesterday. Step 2 will be working on cutting out carbs (striking those whites -- sugar, flour, potatoes, rice, much dairy, and so on -- as well as highly processed foods) from my diet. Step 3 is back to the old treadmill.
The next purge has to happen in my house. I can't get to the important projects (including treadmill) due to all the clutter that has accumulated in 2007. I have too many hobbies and too many volunteer efforts that create boxes stuffed with stuff. I've got to eliminate the unnecessary in things as well as in my activities.
This quote says it all:
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”
by Hans Hofmann (German Painter, one of the most influential art teachers of the 20th century. 1880-1966)
I can see how this could relate to his painting as well as most all other areas of life, including writing.
You've heard it preached that if a scene doesn't move the story ahead, then it should be eliminated. Hurts, but true.
It can be hard to purge the clutter from life, but we will feel so much better and have a much more productive future if we can just dump the junk. So here is to a 2008 full of purging.
What to purge starter list (I'm preaching these to myself and hope a few stick):
- wasted calories on any food that doesn't give real fuel for living a happy, healthier life. I'm not a calorie counter. Hate those numbers. I just rank food by value to me.
- things in the closets and store rooms that haven't been touched in the last 6 months and you have no specific plan to use in the coming 6 months. Just don't be like me when you consider the stuff in the back of your closet and say, "I forgot I had that. It is a perfectly good ____ (dress, shoe, etc.). I should wear that sometime." Just face it, you won't wear it, and it's just clutter weighing you down. We all gravitate to the comfortable standards.
- computer files you haven't opened in 3 months. If it is something you must keep, archive it to a CD and store it in a fire-safe box. Your computer will run like it's a young pup.
- condiments in the frig that are older than 3 months.
- things in the freezer older than 9 months.
- unfinished projects. Plan to finish the project within a reasonable timetable or just dump it now. So what do I do with that half-stitched quilt on the frame for the last, oh, 5 years?
- Books. I know they are like old friends, but how many friends can one person really manage? If you know that you will absolutely not read or reread it in the next say 2 years, then pass it along to someone who will. But that still doesn't help me with my antique book collection. I keep them for historic and beauty value -- right?
- Commitments that clutter your time and raise your stress level. We all have good things we want to do, but too many good things spread our time and energy so thin that we become ineffective in most all areas. Prayerfully resolve to only do the best of the best work. Learn when and how to effectively say no. For me, if running around doing a worthy volunteer job or sitting and watching another reality show on TV cuts into precious prayer and Bible study time, it should be cut from my life. Guard that time with God like a bulldog. Once it slides, it is hard to get it back up on the priority post.
- wasted words. Learn how to write tight in your books, letters, and even emails so that your message can be delivered with more power. Unnecessary adverbs, repetitive phrases, overused cliches, and the like clutter up our message and weaken the delivery.
“We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities.”
by Oscar Wilde (Irish Poet, Novelist, Dramatist and Critic, 1854-1900)
“Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens. If you have them, you have to take care of them! There is great freedom in simplicity of living. It is those who have enough but not too much who are the happiest.”
Peace Pilgrim (American Teacher and Spiritual leader and Peace Prophet, 1908-1981) -- Not familiar with her, but they are wise words.
Here's hoping you have a happy new year in which you can lighten many of life's burdens from your load.
(Cute picture of Christmas packages and surprises. Hopefully these didn't add too much clutter to what my family already possesses.)