Marie Kondo has declared a war on some day in her book (“the life-changing magic of tidying up”). She’s never going to win. No one is. Once in a while we win a minor skirmish, maybe, but the ultimate goal eludes us before we reach the big stockpile in the sky, the ultimate goal being freedom, freedom from a life burdened with surplus.
It may sound scary, and it is. Years and years ago I wrote a major profile for a collection in a hardcover book about important, accomplished Canadian women. It was a big piece, 30 pages or more, and I went into some detail about my subject’s life. She was a very busy woman, so there was a lot to tell. I was fortunate to be able to have a series of in-depth interviews with her closest friend and it’s one of the sorrows of my life that I didn’t know how to define my debt to her. I was fresh out of graduate school and like any good academic I knew how to quote and footnote and credit sources but I wasn’t, not yet, a reporter, and I didn’t know how to acknowledge interviews. I took my informer flowers and a copy of the book when it was published but I didn’t make public what I owed her for all the information she gave me so freely.
What has this to do with Marie Kondo and clutter? There is a point to my tangent.
My busy lady finally managed to clear her office and mind and engagement calendar for an anticipated relaxing weekend with her husband. Yes, she had a husband but no children. So, as she stepped into a long-awaited vacation, she said,
“At last! I’ve done it. I’m free as a bird. I can go now.” And she died.
The moral to the story is, don’t unclutter too much. You might need your anchor.
I’m going away for a week but I’m taking lots of baggage with me, not luggage – I always travel light – but I do have baggage to cope with and I can’t leave it behind.
Deadlines are portable and inexorable.