Clutter-Overweight-In Debt-Hate Job

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Postby Chayadina » Sat Apr 09, 2005 8:12 pm

everyday tsuris (Yiddish for trouble) Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post Delete this post I've had one of those days--I hate myself for all the same reasons listed above--overweight, debt, disorganized, etc. Being almost 50 and never feeling completely together. They say it isn't ADD. But I've always had these problems in way or another. (BTW, I am taking prozac and will be having a heart to heart with a new shrink next week). Lately they're getting to me more than normal since I am leaving a job that recently relied heavily on accounting skills which I really don't have and never advertised that I did (and they didn't advertise that way either). The volunteer leaders who understand this stuff inside out have completely gone nuts about this and with some right but it doesn't change my anxiety or my ability to work through most of it. In fact their anger about it only increases my knowledge that I belong someplace else. I know I have other contributions to make that are more satisfying (if someone in a professional way will recognize them!). I have a background in working w/nonprofit and higher education organizations (ironic, the word, eh?). I can't complain to my regular friends which I usually do because their lives have even more tsuris--with kids, major family health issues, more major $ issues. I'm lucky I have my husband but I am leaning much too heavily on him. Leaving this job is a regular phenomenon. I try to mold myself to what the workforce needs as opposed to what I can really bring and then I either get bored or burn out or both in a year or two. I have never been anywhere more than 3 years and often as I see the writing on the wall I slip out before I'm asked to leave. I'm often drawn to the cause, the people, the salary. Maybe this is more about wishes and obstacles but I don't know for sure. I would love the 2nd half of my life to be filled w/joy and self acceptance and have that reflected in the public domain (small scale). Your thoughts? Your support? Thanks! Chayadina
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Postby joyous1 » Mon Apr 11, 2005 7:10 am

I am slowly getting rid of the last layer of clutter and slo-o-o-owly working towards the renovations to sell the house. The last layer of clutter is painful. And very time-consuming. But as I've been working diligently for the last 2 weeks, I've started to eat better and lose weight. Very interesting. Even yesterday, eating out I chose a very healthy salad and was satisfied and happy with my choice rather than feeling put upon or deprived. And afterwards, I didn't feel heavy or tired. And just naturally, I've been spending less money on eating out and instead drinking tea at my own desk rather than buying it, and doing activities I really like. We have a 8 week old grizzly cub at the local zoo and I am absolutely in love with him. I went twice on the weekend to see him. And the zoo just happens to be near an off-leash area that I had never explored and so I popped my dog in the car and went there both days after the zoo and it was such a wonderful experience with all these happy dogs and tons of good energy. Plus, we walked about 3 km both times without even really being aware of it. Knock on wood this continues :)
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Postby expatana » Tue Apr 12, 2005 1:37 pm

joyous1, Did you just decide at the last minute to go out to the zoo? Apparently, exercise and sunshine are two great combinations. I'm starting to feel a little better with the arrival of spring and the sun. I'm still very scared of what will happen, but I'm feeling more positive with each sunny day. (I still think that shows I belong more in California if I'm in this country. I always felt better there.) I would continue to concentrate on the clutter because that can be symbolic of the other things - real physical clutter, clutter of the mind that perhaps causes blocks, clutter of the body symbolized by eating, etc. And now for my own clutter, a bit harder because it's small personal items only: photographs, books, magazines, other papers, clothing. Ana
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Postby joyous1 » Wed Apr 13, 2005 9:05 am

Argh! The scale is driving me mad so I've put it in the closet. I think asking deeper questions, like "Why am I holding onto this?" needs to be happening. About my weight. About my stuff. 90% through paper clutter. Really through. Not just organized, but gone. And acted on if necessary. Layers and layers of stuff. This feels amazing, and kinda odd, like there's less shame. Like if I got hurt and someone had to go through my stuff, there's nothing wrong with it. And following through on stuff and getting it out is feeling really good. Not easy, but like there's one less thing taking away a percentage of my energy. What is really neat is that I am not adding new clutter or papers or nifty bits I see in books or articles. I've decided my mantra is "If I need it later, it will come to me." Even hating my job less as there's less hanging over my head, and with my new energy and clear headedness, getting through my tasks easier. Now, about the debt....
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Postby WaitingForPCH » Wed Apr 13, 2005 11:14 am

Chayadina: SOOO much of your post I can identify with -- like "belonging someplace else" at your job but unable to find another opportunity is so me too. So was what you said about "mold myself to what the workforce needs as opposed to what I can really bring and then I either get bored or burn out or both in a year or two" and "I would love the 2nd half of my life to be filled w/ joy and self acceptance." It's like the more we try to find work that's meaningful -- and "meaningful work" for each of us is as different as our fingerprints -- the more the deck and the obstacles seem stacked against us and the pickings seem slimmer. Maybe that's because our standards are higher; like finding love and friendships, we don't want to settle just to HAVE something. joyous: that bear cub sounds SOO adorable! I wonder if your zoo has an adopt-an-animal program? Where you contribute monetary donations towards its food and care; sorta like what Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah does to help defray costs. Anyway, I love reading your (and actually everyone's but still) updates because I think we're in about the same place, clutter-wise and the emotions and resistance surrounding it. I agree with what you said about "if I need it later, I can get it later"; as well as how good it feels to have stuff actually GONE. It's made me a better shopper, if not a rare shopper ... because there's just nothing anymore that I need. Especially if I have to move it, clean it, or otherwise keep up with it. I haven't even replaced my microwave oven yet, as I'm eating just fine using the stove and regular oven. And the small 20+ year old color TV downstairs, the one without a remote (I don't have cable TV at all), is working fine for me because every season it seems like there's less and less programming that interests me, so a lot of the time I don't even have it on, lol.
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Postby WaitingForPCH » Tue Apr 26, 2005 5:39 am

Hope I'm not the only one still dealing with clutter, lol...how embarrassing! It keeps me on track though having a place like here to come and be accountable, so that's probably why I'm talking about this topic so much. I love hearing about what the rest of you are doing too, and get some great ideas that way, so thank you. It's been really interesting to me, as I get rid of stuff, seeing what remains...ie, what is REALLY important to me. Even stuff I thought I wanted to keep, I've sat on it for awhile and now I'm thinking "I don't really want/need that at all." My point was that it's made me see patterns in the type of stuff that IS truly important to me, tangibles and intangibles, if that makes more sense. Just thinking out loud.
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clearing out clutter

Postby vlands » Tue Apr 26, 2005 8:27 pm

Here is an idea I've had about getting rid of crap: one reason that I am reluctant to let things go is that I have memories attached to items and am concerned that I will lose the memories if I no longer have the item to remind me. But I MUST pare down before I start packing. Also, I want a simpler life, one with less CRAP to put away all the time. So, I've decided: I will make a list of every thing I throw out or give away and then write a little note about the item--when I got it, from whom, why I've kept it, how I've used it, people or places associated with it, why I'm reluctant to let go of it, and so on. I'll keep the list in my journal, or maybe even start a separate journal solely for the purpose of recording \"released items.\" I figure it'll be a learning experience. Once not long after my dad died, my older brother came home to the farm after not having been there since the funeral. He went out to \"the shop\" (a garage off a piece from the house), a place that my dad had worked in with his dad, and that my brother's had worked in with our dad. It had a lot of history in it and many many memories. Plus a potbellied stove. After seeing the downfallen state of the shop (my younger brother had NOT been concerned with keeping it up, keeping the birds out, replacing broken windows and so on--because he was occupied with taking care of my dad [who had Alzheimer's] and also apparently because he simply didn't value it to the same extent that my other brother did). So my older brother was complaining to me about our younger brother's \"negligence.\" What possessed me, I can't say, but I heard this come out of my mouth: \"Well, the shop is a building and yes, it is a representation of Daddy and it's sad that it's fallen into disrepair. But it is a building, just a building. Granted, it's a special building and you identify with it. I know. But Christopher [the younger brother] is a human being, a flesh and blood part of Daddy. And he's still here. Maybe you could focus on your relationship with him instead of the connection you had to the shop.\" Beats me, man! My own eyes were bugging out of my head :shock: as I heard myself say this because I really didn't know that I had it in my head, and because I felt kinda sheepish, like maybe I'd crossed a line, but my brother looked at me and said, \"You're right. That's right.\" And never spoke to me about the shop again. Nowadays I vividly recall saying that back then, and I think to myself often \"it's just a thing that you're worried about letting go of. All that it represents is INSIDE of you. It's o.k. to let the thing go.\" And then I can. Usually. So that's something that helps me shovel out.
"Nothing matters and what if it did?" Kenneth Patchen
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Postby joyous1 » Wed Apr 27, 2005 7:31 am

Okay, I'm not sure if this is serendipity or a sign from the universe that my de-cluttering has been noticed and is being rewarded. I'll choose the second. I did my taxes yesterday and instead of owing a whopping load like I thought, $2000.00, I only ended up owing $758.67!!!! I had budgeted for the high amount, so I'm so excited (just means I'm not as bad in debt as I figured I would be). So my debt load is going down and I am getting all this extra money in bits here and there!!!! Sorry but I must show my exuberance. Thank you de-cluttering god! Thank you debt-free god! And I will even thank the overweight and hate my job gods. Still waiting for the pounds to melt away off my body as they are off my life. :) Did I mention how surprised I am that de-cluttering is changing other parts of my life? Domino effect or no, its odd, as I've major de-cluttered over the years but all the effects seem to be showing up just now. Maybe its the change in intention going along with this latest effort. Who really knows, eh?
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Re: clearing out clutter

Postby WaitingForPCH » Fri Apr 29, 2005 11:30 am

vlands wrote:I will make a list of every thing I throw out or give away and then write a little note about the item--when I got it, from whom, why I've kept it, how I've used it, people or places associated with it, why I'm reluctant to let go of it, and so on. I'll keep the list in my journal, or maybe even start a separate journal solely for the purpose of recording "released items."
FWIW, I for one LOVE that idea!! Maybe add a picture of each item too? I bet that will become a special keepsake for you, vlands; something you will enjoy looking at from time to time. And one book will be a lot easier to keep up with than all the "stuff." :wink: I've sorta done the same thing, in taking digital pictures of ALL my items so that I could post it for sale at Ebay, but also pics of stuff I donated. It's nice being down to one small packet of discs that once represented a whole houseful of stuff I never used. Unlike your things though, the stuff I got rid of wasn't special to me, so eventually I will most likely just delete all the digital images of released stuff so that I have room in my camera for the NEW special things and experiences to come. Before you get rid of your stuff though, I'm also reminding myself that getting rid of clutter is not so much getting rid of EVERYTHING, but just those things that don't give you pleasure, or that you don't actively use, or even those things that have painful memories attached. It sounds like your treasures actually ARE special to you? Are there other things that aren't special, or used, that you could get rid of instead, to make room for your special things? I found that it helps me to have a special box or place to put things that I'm not only getting rid of, but keeping too. Put it aside for awhile, out of sight if possible, and go on to something else. In time I think you'll find out if you really need it, or want it, based on whether or not you go looking to retrieve it. At least that's what worked for me; YMMV. Hope this makes sense... P.S. to joyous: yippee!! Congrats! :o
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Postby DwightsLadyLuck » Fri Apr 29, 2005 11:59 am

If you want a funny book to read about clutter (of all kinds), I recommend Don Haslett's "Clutter's Last Stand" - you'll start cleaning out your life immediately, laughing all the way.
Fortune Smiles Every Day
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Postby RIGEL M » Fri Apr 29, 2005 4:56 pm

Dear Tituba and all others who have contributed to this thread, it is both thought-provoking and thoughtful, brimming with insights I've needed and questions I've been unwilling to ask myself. Recently I'd been thinking that CHAOS is not a theory - it is a reality in my house and my life. I no longer have the hated job because on the Winter Solstice I realized that after nearly 28 years I just could not take any more. I decided to take early retirement with a reduced payment since it was nearly what I had been earning except for the unwanted but mandatory overtime. By the end of February I was feeling guilt ridden and scared because all I was doing was sleeping, reading, eating, watching TV and taking the dogs to the park for a couple of hours if the weather was ok and I wasn't too "tired". I finally realized that I just needed far more time to decompress and de-toxify from that horrid job than I had originally expected. Things have gotten so much worse at that old workplace that the union and the employees have taken their complaints to the NLRB and I've spent several afternoons giving my deposition to one of the NLRB attorneys. Having to try and recall, in as much detail as possible, all of the misery of the place has not been any fun. I can only hope that sometime in the future it might help my old friends who are still there. Several of the posts from back in May talk about walls we build around us. It got me thinking about the physical walls of my house, that contain so much stuff within them. This house was built in 1929 on a fairly steep hillside with the front of the main floor at street level and a lower level that is basement like, even though it is above ground. By the mid-eighties gravity and earthquakes had taken their toll and the back of the house was about 5" lower that the front so the former owner had it jacked up, capped the old foundation and added a dozen support columns deep in the ground. My life feels analogous to this house. The foundation, my childhood, just was not as strong and solid as it needed to be in order to build a healthy, happy life. (This is not blame the parents, just acknowledging that they didn't have enough of the skills and tools they needed to live their own lives either, or to parent well and tried to escape or at least dull the pain via alcohol. When I think about the good things that I did get from them like love of music, reading, dogs, getting up to watch the sun rise I feel sad about the pain that they had in their lives and realize that finally all my anger toward them is gone. So I think I'll spend some time thinking about my foundation and seeing where there are gaps or cracks, what could use some reinforcement or realignment. I now know that I was not inherently unworthy of my parents love and nurturing, they gave me all they could to the best of their ability. So what if 55 years of poor nutrition, junk food junky has me 60 pounds overweight. Or that I've filled my house with an overabundance of stuff in an effort to shore up the inadequate foundation. A very wise, kind and funny woman told me and the rest of her audience IT'S ONLY TOO LATE IF YOU DON'T START NOW. It's taken about a year for that tiny seed to grow enough for the first little shoot to appear above ground but it can grow to be a big perennial. A hike in the hills (actually a slow easy stroll is all I can manage at this level of fitness) can be taken instead of going to the dog park and sitting and chatting with folks. In time the stamina will grow and the weight will go just as it did in the past. I've walked my way from 180 to 120 before and followed it with a 50 mile backpacking trip in the high Sierras. I want to see more of those astounding mountains. The puppy will be tuckered out and not need to chew up everything. The old dogs will regain a spring in their step. I will smoke less and maybe develop the courage to try and QUIT. I'll choose a piece of fruit instead of chips, or at least before the chips. I don't have to try to cull through all 4000 books in some 3 day marathon. Or every article of clothing in every closet and dresser and box. I can say 'I have gotten all that I need from this book or this sweater. I'll let it go do what it's meant to do and sell or donate it so that someone else can have what they need or want.' This will create space in my life for the new "things' that I really need or want - pursuing my big dream of creating a dog friendly campgrounds, learning to play the banjo, travel, working with Habitat for Humanity and maybe even a loving partner to share all those upcoming good times. I'm beginning to see how staying in a very dysfunctional work environment, that was like being in an alcoholic family, was so very bad. The behavior patterns were very similar and I knew how to be in that kind of life. It was familiar and so I was "comfortable" with it even though it was crazy. So my sense is that of the 4 issues raised by Tituba, clutter, weight, debt and job, a really toxic job is probably the most important to try and change because just trying to survive in it sucks up so much of ones vital life-force energy that you're too depleted to do much about clutter, the weight, or the debt. Then it is very easy to feel like you deserve a reward right now (which you do). So you spend your very hard earned money on a treat - ice cream, a new pair of shoes, or a weekend getaway. If you don't have the cash, well that's what credit cards are for, right?. Or you do have the cash and then when you go to pay bills you think 'if only I hadn't spent that money on X I could have an extra 5, 50, 500 to pay down my debt. Then you think, I'm a bad person, I'm too self indulgent, it's all my fault, on and on. Then comes the declaration - This has got to stop! Followed by the vow - From now on I'm going to ____, or I'm never again going to ______!!! Til the next time that you go to work and are treated like you're lazy and stupid and worthless. On the way home you stop and get a pint of Ben & Jerry's and a super size bag of potato chips and call that dinner. Does my scenario sound at all similar to yours? So if you're in a toxic job make a realistic plan to move on, rally support and brainstorming here on the boards and from the people in you life who care about you and be kind to yourself while you're in the process. I know that it's very scary. I was so scared that I didn't. Hopefully others need not be so afraid. I realize this post has gotten very long. I didn't know all the twists and turns it would take when I sat down at the keyboard. Wishing you all great livelihoods that enable your true talents and loves to fully manifest themselves, fitness and health in homes fulled with laughter instead of clutter. Rigel
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Postby Tituba » Sat Apr 30, 2005 7:12 am

Rigel - Thanks for your post and it wasn't too long! (especially liked that you put returns to separate the paragraphs!) Many of the points you raised are so relevant to my life! Thank you.
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Postby joyous1 » Tue May 10, 2005 7:19 am

Okay, doing another layer of clutter clearing and its raising some very painful issues. Like my jewelry box. I'm 39, my dad gave me a gold necklace for my 16th birthday. I've always felt funny about it, uncomfortable. I've worn it twice. And a ring my grandma gave me that I wore alot, but then there were odd things with my grandma that made it not right. And my aunt gave me a ring that I wore all the time when I was younger, but again, odd things with the aunt. A lovely gold and diamond watch another aunt gave me, my mom's engagement ring (they divorced bitterly when I was 5), and a silver heart locket my grandma (who didn't like my mom) gave my mom who gave it to be through my stepmother (nasty woman) on my 16th birthday (my mom literally disappeared before then). And pearls that broke that I'm going to have re-strung which belonged to my mom in the 50's pearls and gloves era. Basically, its all tainted. Thats exactly the right word for how these items feel. And I don't want them, although I kinda do, maybe cause I've had them so long? Maybe because they represent what I hoped for in a loving family? I'm not sure. Its a big step for me to even consider letting these go. But I want to. That idea that fine threads connect us to everything we own? These things definitely have an energy of their own and I can't get over the uncomfortable feelings about them, even though they are lovely sentiments and lovely jewelry. I'm not sure how to let them go. Taking them to a pawn shop or giving them to Goodwill doesn't seem right. Should I ask my mom if she wants the things back? How do I say it without it seeming really nasty? And cruel. Should I get my husband to sell them for me at an estate jewelry store? Heirlooms, damn them! But I already feel freer knowing that I am going to release them somehow from my ownership and my psyche.
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Postby strebend » Tue May 10, 2005 7:57 pm

Quest, I can identify so strongly with your statement, [b]People who: live in neat houses, have a body size deemed 'normal', have lots of $$ in the bank, and reportedly love their jobs can have significant problems too.[/b] As you say, it's all about core issues, especially the issue of low self-esteem; of not thinking we're good enough to have earned happiness. On paper, my life looks great; you have to be able to see deep inside to know that it doesn't feel right. [b]I live in a neat house.[/b] (I need external order and organization to make up for the inner turmoil and chaos I can't sweep away.) [b]I have a body size deemed normal.[/b] (I will not allow myself to go over 110 pounds because I need to display iron control over my appetite, to make up for the lack of control I really feel inside.) [b]I have lots of $$ in the bank.[/b] (My spouse earns much more than I do, so I take no pride in it; it's his achievement, not mine.) [b]I love my job. [/b](That's a bright spot - but I'm always secretly afraid I'll somehow mess up and prove I'm not really good enough.) I guess the moral of the story is that we all have the same "core issues"; some of us just put more work into hiding them. And I guess the question is: How do we get past it?
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Postby audreyh1 » Thu May 12, 2005 6:22 am

Hi RIGEL: I wanted to point out that it is very common when first retired to discover that you aren't doing much. Some people actually get rather depressed. Allowing yourself time is good. But now that you have the gift of your time being truly your own (a wonderful thing), figuring out how to use that time to pursue your dreams is the key to a happy retirement. It's not like you have to spend every minute in productive activity - far from it - a generous amount of loafing is healthy. It's just good to start to focus your energies into some long term goals that are deeply important to you, and if those long term goals aren't readily apparent, then focusing your energies into discovering them will reap great benefits. I found Wishcraft to be a useful way of prioritizing things for me - making sure I was putting the most important things first and it was helpful in letting go of activities that weren't aligned with my touchstones. I needed about 6 months to decompress too, and although my job was overly stressful, I don't think it was nearly as toxic as yours. But it sounds like you are going through a healing process and things are steadily improving and this process may already be happening automatically. Audrey
I have uncluttered my life and I now live my dream full-time!
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