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Day 76: 5 things I learned while packing

August 26, 2012

Knee deep in packing tape, cardboard boxes and dust, I spent my Friday evening wishing I was doing anything but packing. It was a beautiful summer evening, my son was at his dad’s, it’s Restaurant Week, and here I am cooped up inside, bored to tears by the daunting chore ahead of me.

However, since wishing the task away was impossible, I attempted to make it a little more tolerable with a glass of wine and my Brandi Carlile Pandora station turned up to a respectful volume (someone lives downstairs). I dug through the inventory of my relatively short adult-life, dreading the collection I’ll have 10 years from now, which brings me to the first thing I learned about myself while packing:

1) I am a pack rat.

Throwing something out is like flushing memories down the toilet. For instance, I found a miniature ‘paddle’ engraved with the Greek letters Phi Sigma Phi. For about five seconds, I enjoyed a trip down memory lane. (And there’s no better lane traveled than one that leads to Central Michigan University.) The crisp, fall air buzzed with the chatter of Zetas. If you got close enough, the sickeningly sweet scent of raspberry-flavored Burnett’s burned your nose. And I was vying for the attention of a guitar-playing, cinnamon-scented troublemaker. College parties… those were the days.

I burst out laughing as my thoughts led me to the reason why I have this paddle. It was one of several ‘souvenirs’ my friends and I had collected during our CMU escapades. From O’Kelley’s to the Blackstone to Marty’s to Copper Beech, our nights were never dull. While I have zero use for this tiny object five years later, I know I’ll love reliving these memories when I’m 50. How else will nostalgia be prompted, if not for these little objects? As for the magazine collection dated 2009, well, those made it into my recycle bin.

2) Organization of tangible items is not my strength.

As a former graphic designer and writer, you’d think the skill of organizing information would trickle into my physical-stuff space. But it doesn’t. My plan was to simply pack by room, but it turns out there’s no simple about it. I like to blame my disorganization on no closet space and only 700 square feet, but really it’s an innate characteristic I haven’t yet figured out how to reverse. Nonetheless, boxing by room required me to walk from room to room to room to fill a box. I’m holding out hope that this skill is simply dormant, waiting to emerge when I’m a homeowner.

3) I work well under pressure.

While I’ve gotten a good start on filling boxes (31!), it won’t be until I unlock the door to my new home that I’ll really feel motivated to get a move on. Friday, for example, was three days ‘til close, and I felt more invigorated than I was Tuesday. Thus, I finally jotted down a list of goals to achieve in the next week. Had I gotten an offer to go dancing, however, I would have changed out of my t-shirt in a heartbeat, scrapping my to-do list. The good news, though, despite my short attention span fueled by boredom, I’m absolutely confident I’ll achieve each goal as planned.

4) Everything inspires a story.

Amidst my pausing to dance to good music or refill my glass of wine, I fought the urge to run to my computer and write stories. Countless times, I was struck by an emotion that I wanted to capture for a future novel or an idea for a blog post. Had I given in to each one, I’d have been planted on the couch for hours.

So I took a lesson from my son. Setting a timer keeps him on track and looking forward to a reward, whether it’s playing outside or having enough time to read two bedtime stories. So I set myself a timer. Turns out I can get a lot done in 20 minutes! Then I set it for another 20 to do something enjoyable.

On Friday afternoon at my improv session with Mary Jane from Fishladder, I hung my head in shame, claiming I’m no good at storytelling. Turns out I was wrong. Everything inspires a story.

5) Everything is more enjoyable with good music.

– Despite not wanting to ever be at home, if music is playing, I never want to leave.
– I can’t wait to not have a neighbor living below me so I can turn it up as loud as I want.
– My ultimate housewarming gift would be a Jambox. Maybe I’ll treat myself.

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