It seems like such a simple thing to know and understand, but life isn’t perfect. Not for me, not for you, not for the people we admire the most in our lives, not for our neighbors, our friends, our family, or even the celebrities on television.
For the past several months, I’ve been diligently taking the time here and there to get my life organized and packed for the big move that just finished about half an hour ago. I disassembled all of Legotopia, which was sad and fascinating at the same time. In the last week, I spent countless hours sorting paperwork, shredding things, throwing things away, donating things, and recycling as much as I could. Everything I organized and filed brought up a seemingly endless list of things I always meant to get around to taking care of but simply never found the time.
I found beautiful journals with glaring empty pages where I had promised myself that I would start writing again. Old notebooks filled with stories, poems, journals, and incredible knowledge from previous classes that I meant to find the time to scan and save to my computer. Piles of unlabeled CDs and DVDs that could easily contain the secrets of the universe but instead remain mysterious in their content. Designs, patterns, and gifts intended for countless people throughout the years to demonstrate how much those individuals have touched my life, unfinished in a box somewhere. Shelves filled with hundreds of unread books. Spiral bound rough drafts of my stories waiting endlessly for me to finally edit them, collecting dust on a shelf. Stampless thank you cards for everything I received during the holidays.
Every item I found created a sense of incompleteness. All these good intentions that I always really meant to finish, but somehow just didn’t.
I keep thinking that someday, I’ll get the time to work through all these projects and all the things I’ve so far left undone. While the movers were packing everything up today, it was certainly eye-opening about how much I really have in my life that I either don’t need or haven’t completed. While going through the inventory sheets and verifying all my boxes at the end, there were a couple times when I had to ask them if they were sure I actually owned the item on the box and that they packed it. As it turns out, I did own everything and they did pack all my stuff, but it was still a weird thing to have to think about.
I’d like to say that once I get to my new place and everything gets moved into whatever new dwelling I wind up living in that I will take charge of all of these projects and clean out my life. I’d like to remember to journal every day, scan all my old knowledge to my computer, clear up my CDs and DVDs, finish and send out all those gifts for all those people throughout the years, read those unread books, and edit those stories.
But the truth is that I probably won’t. Why? Because life gets in the way. It’s not perfect. There will always be bills to pay, vehicles to get serviced, long and crappy hours at work, groceries to buy, skills to learn, and people to help. There will always be those days where all I really want to do is take off my boots, curl up on the couch, and avoid the rest of the human population. There will always be those days where I feel alone and isolated and I go see a movie by myself just so I can feel like I’m a part of the world. There will always be other draws on the time we have in our lives.
Ever since the beginning of the year, I’ve been rather proud of myself for managing to read a book a week and write my reviews of it. It was a goal for the new year that I made and that I had kept! Go me! Only this past week got so out of hand at work and the packing for the big move that I just didn’t have the time to sleep, let alone to read anything. The total exhaustion and frustration with having to take care of every major event in my life all by myself caused this one, minor thing to because something more major in my head. It started a trickle-down effect, wherein I started to feel like a total failure at everything I do because I couldn’t do even this one little thing like reading a book a week. It’s supposed to be my self-reward. I like reading. It opens my imagination and allows me to experience an unbelievable array of emotions, from sheer joy to terrible loss and everything in between. So even this one, tiny task that I enjoy and look forward to every week became something that I not only failed at but was probably not doing right anyway. From there, my brain went to all the gifts and cards I never managed to finish and get sent out. And so on. And so on.
Sitting at my broken desk in my 99% empty apartment, exhausted beyond my usual level of functionality, eating my breakfast cereal out of a plastic bowl nine hours after my alarm woke me up, I realized that life isn’t perfect. And it’s never going to be perfect. While I would like very much to live in an area near some of the people who matter the most to me, I realize that it would never be the way I would wish. Living closer would not mean that I would be a more important or more frequent part of anyone else’s life. I may never finish all those incomplete tasks I found during my cleaning and packing.
All these things combine in my head and creates a motivational struggle every now and again. If I know from the beginning that I’m not going to finish things, then what’s the point of starting them or saying that I would do them in the first place? Why not just give up and throw in the towel?
Because life isn’t SUPPOSED to be perfect. I think if everything on my list was complete that I might go insane from boredom. I’m not one of those people who can waste their lives in front of a television or drown themselves at the bottom of empty alcohol containers. If I don’t have a specific task or something I am working to accomplish, I tend to get a bit unsettled and restless. The things I have left to do make me feel all the more satisfied once I complete what seemed like an unaccomplishable task. Because eventually, I really will get everything done. Or I’ll just keep doing the best that I can, knowing full well that things are the way they are for a reason.
I’ll keep getting things done because it’s a challenge. It’s something to keep my brain occupied. And as I cross off every long-term item on my list, I feel better about the way things are in my world. Sometimes, all you can do is accept the world as you see it and try your best to make it a better place. And understand that it’s not supposed to be perfect. It’s supposed to be a challenge and a lesson. I’m hoping that just understanding that will be half the battle 🙂