Last week I decided to take on a project of sorting through a storage bin of papers and memorabilia that I have collected over the past ten years. This bin has survived four moves within that time frame. Toward the end of 2016, I started to adopt minimalism as a way of life (it is a difficult process initially but I have found that the more I have let go, the more free I feel…that’s another post). I am making an intentional effort to only keep the necessary and let go of the excess so that I am free to focus on the more important things.
As I was sorting through the container I discovered old college papers that I felt proud of and articles or quotes that inspired me through those years and even into my first jobs. I discovered that I kept my graduate school acceptance letter as well as the orientation schedule in that bin. There were pictures and flight ticket stubs and subway maps. but the most emotionally charging items I had in that bin were my journals and what I labeled as my “job folder” where I kept my history of performance reviews, recognitions, resignation letters, reference letters and e-mails related to my work performance, always with the thought that they would somehow serve me in the future. It was in these two things that I realized that I struggle in two very big areas: I leave a lot of things unfinished in my personal life and I’ve placed a lot of my self-worth on my job performance.
My journals always started with great promise but my entries would become shorter and shorter to non existent in the matter of months because I would allow outside factors to get in the way of me taking the time to reflect consistently. This trickled into other areas of my personal life-my health, my relationships, my spiritual growth, even my blog. These areas that always seem to make it on my New Year’s Resolution lists but never gets resolved to the level that it could if I would only remain consistent.
In terms of my work folder, there were occasions where I had glowing reviews and there were times where areas I was not strong in were pointed out. I literally would overlook any positive comments and crumble at any criticism related to my work. It was most unhealthy. As I read through them I could still feel the phantom pain of the criticism.
In the end, I decided to keep my journals and to toss the job folder away. The journals are meaningful to my journey through life and although they are unfinished, I can pick up where I left off until I am done. The same is true to the other areas in my personal life: spiritual, physical and relational. It’s time to get things done.
As for the job folder, they are mere papers taking up space and haven’t really served any greater purpose than that- taking up physical space in the bin. They have not helped or hindered any opportunities and I realized I put much more weight on them than I needed to.
What unfinished things do you have in your bin? What are some areas that you have put unnecessary weight on in your life? There is still time in 2017 to turn some things around. Why wait for the new year when you can get it done now?