For a few years now, I’ve had “clear New Jersey boxes” on my list of “to do”s. I’ve generally said, Oh this is too much, I’ll wait until it’s summer break… winter break… spring break… and so it’s been 6 years since those boxes came with me from my childhood home in NJ when my dad was selling it.
For whatever reason, it has happened that I’ve been drawn to clear out these boxes lately. A few weeks ago, I began moving from box to box, shelf to shelf, drawer to brimful drawer of notebooks and folders and binders. I have kept a lot of crap.
But in and amongst that crap are important pieces of my life and—as I’ve realized in the culling of it all—my self.
I can categorize every paper and folder and notebook into the following:
- Performance (theater & music)
- Spiritual progress (in subcategories of finance & underbeing, relationship & sexuality)
- Math & Science
- Creative Writing & Visual Art
- Education & Teaching
That’s it. My life on a librarian’s studiously categorized bookshelf! 5 categories that sum up the whole of me, my interests, my passions, and my goals.
What feels humbling and calming about this revelation is that I can more easily attend to the axiom, “To thine own self be true.”
While categories may be added or quizzically sussed out (does piloting count as science? is sailing education or spiritual progress?), the need for perfect sorting isn’t what strikes me today. What I notice is that all my choices for over 10 years can be shuffled generally into these areas, and I am so glad of it!
It means that I am consistent, that my choices are consistent — even and especially when I feel lost about some aspect of what’s happening in my life, I now know that I have a template of myself. 5 colors.
Does this choice adhere to my color scheme? If not, is it a choice I’m making for myself, or for somebody else? If this choice does adhere to these categories, am I really giving it its due? Am I paying attention to what it’s telling me, or am I scuttling it under a rug muttering, “It’s not that important”?
I have many a lumpy rug.
As I continue to sift through the accumulation of my years, I am finding a piece of pride in knowing these are the anchors of my being. I can stand firmly and state with conviction that I love math, that I seek spiritual progress, that I foster my own and others’ education.
To know facts about myself, in this waylaying storm of daily emotions and tasks, is a relief and a boon.