Instead of making New Year's resolutions, I decided to tackle a few projects -- the ones I've had on my To Do list for way too long -- and get them done BEFORE the New Year. One of the big ones was emptying my "Box From Hell." This was a cardboard box that contained the piles of paperwork that regularly accumulate on my desk. Whenever I had company I would just dump the latest pile into the Box-from-Hell and shove the box into the coat closet. Naturally, over the course of the year, the box filled up and the paperwork in it was a complete disorganized mess. Over the past few days, I managed to sort, throw, file and empty its contents, which was a huge, gratifying accomplishment and a freeing way to start off the new year.
During the course of filing, however, I dug into other old Boxes-from-Hell and found more even more disorganized piles of paperwork. More throwing and shredding occurred -- and a lot of reminiscing. There were scraps of paper and old receipts from my desk in Stuttgart, Germany. (Old indeed as I lived there from 2003 to 2006.) There were photos of and hand-written notes from Marcus. And there was a magazine article I wrote about how Marcus picked me up for our first date on his motorcycle. Indicating further progress in my journey through grief, I could read the story about our über-romantic courtship with sweet nostalgia instead of guttural sobs. Now that is progress! (The article is below. You might need to zoom in to read it. And, of course, you can read more about my romance with Marcus in my book when it comes out in THREE MORE MONTHS!)
Cleaning and organizing my files before the calendar changed to 2012 was an excellent ritual, a sort of rite of passage to make space for whatever new things lie ahead. According to Zen wisdom, you have to "empty your cup before you can refill it again." I say you have to empty your box. I can't wait to see what it fills up with next. (Besides bills and insurance documents, I mean.)