This morning I have been thinking about when I was a child and my relationship with my Auntie Joan. She wasn’t a real auntie, but one of my mum’s best friends who lived across the road. I liked her well enough but in truth, the most massive appeal of Auntie Joan was that she let me rearrange her food cupboards. I would order, categorise by type and shape, and bring a sense of tranquillity to the cupboard which was above her breakfast bar. It was an activity that filled me with joy.
Thinking about this stemmed from a conversation that I had last night with Will. We were talking about the benefits of having a personal assistant in a somewhat jokey sort of way. I started off by thinking that it would be good to have someone to bring physical order to my life, someone to tend my kitchen, then I realised that I could do this perfectly well. Then I thought about my paperwork, and how nice it would be to have someone to organise it. This one took a bit longer to process, but it eventually occurred to me that I am good at this too, just not actively so in my own life.
I organise events, run accounts, coordinate activities and a host of similar things. I can look at someone else’s paperwork and see immediate clarity, I know where things are meant to go. I have an inbuilt Dewey decimal system in my head; I can always see how much better things could be.
So thinking back to how I felt about organisation as a child (it’s amazing! it’s phenomenal!) and to my situation now where helping others to make sense of their chaos comes easily, (but applying this to my own life feels trickier). I started to ponder the interim years. What prevented me from applying this incredible skill to my life?
Then I thought about the videos. Am sure that I have blogged on this before, likely in reference to hoarding, but I think I somewhat understated the organisation involved in this. Each video was diligently numbered and labelled, and kept strictly in its row. I believe there was also a reference folder so that I could simply flick through the pages, locate the program that I wanted and instantly locate without having to sift through every tape. It was an elegant system.
At the same time, I knew it wasn’t healthy to have to record everything I watched, I knew that what I was doing edged on a sort of hysteria, but quietly. The tapes became an area that I could perfectly control, there was no loss or corruption, everything was precisely as it should be. And this juxtaposed with being at school, where bullying made my life a scary place. Maybe at this point, perhaps even subconsciously, I knew that I had tarnished my love of order. Now when things become too organised, too neat in my life, I feel uncomfortable, as I have linked this to feelings of being out of control. Only I am not experiencing that sort of pain anymore, I am genuinely excited and happy to be entirely me, my life is brilliant! Only now that me, when things get to tidy, decides that it would be a super great plan to pull out entire cupboards worth of stuff, which I can then feel at ease with. Only at a deeper level, I really am not.
So moving forward, I see the link that no longer serves me. Being organised is not a pollution, it is a straightforward thing that enables me to have a life where I can do more of what I love. It creates simplicity. And this is exceptional.
Map Point. How can I understand my motivations better?