Thursday, May 8, 2008

On Clutter, Politics, and American Idol

Last night, our library hosted a seminar on how to conquer clutter. We had a good turn-out; 57 clutterers came to find out how to get rid of the clutter in their lives. What we learned was not how to organize our clutter, but why we clutter in the first place. Emotions, sentimentality, fear are among some of the reasons why we clutter. We also learned that there are three clutter types: The Collector, the Accumulator, and the Concealer.

I was thinking about my own clutter. My clutter type is Collector. I have book collections, record collections, vintage purse collections, china collections, sci-fi collections. However, I'm organized and good at displaying these collections. So no worries there.

I'm not thinking about this clutter, though, I'm thinking about the "clutter" in my mind. We don't often think about what clutters up our mind: what to wear to work tomorrow, will the price of gas go up today, will my cat let me sleep this morning, will the Democrats finally choose a nominee for the presidential election, who will win "American Idol", will another one of our soldiers die in Iraq, who will be revealed as the 12th Cylon on "Battlestar Galactica", will I get all my work done today, and which coffee blend will I brew today?

Did you ever stop and count how many questions we ask ourselves each day? Probably not. And it doesn't matter how many. Just that we have to make decisions, think about serious problems, or uncover fun secrets. What matters, though, is that we discover who we are. We ask these questions, big and small, of ourselves each day to learn what we want out of life, what we expect of ourselves.

Sometimes we can't answer a lot of the questions we ask ourselves, some we can or have to decipher: I'm going to wear jeans and a cute top with the "perfect" accessories tomorrow. I filled up my gas tank the other day, so I don't have to worry what the price of gas is tomorrow. I can only hope my cat will let me sleep past 6:00 a.m. this morning. There is a chance the Democratic candidate issue will be resolved by the next primary on May 20th. We won't know until two more weeks who will be the next "American Idol" will, but I hope it is rocker cutie David Cook. Unfortunately, another soldier will most likely die in Iraq today. I'll just have to keep watching "Battlestar Galactica" until the story unfolds and "reveals all" as the show's writers promise. I won't get all my work done today, but I'll do my best while I am working. And Peet's Decaf Coffee is on the menu today.

That's a lot of stuff cluttering my mind in one day. A lot for anyone to think about. So, like our material possessions, we have to de-clutter or thoughts.

We learned about the "7 1/2 Habits of Highly Successful Life-Long Learners" during our library system's Web 2.0 Exploration project, part of which is this blog, and one of those habits is: "Accept responsibility for your own learning." I have been trying to learn ways to de-clutter my mind, such as by practicing yoga and by following the wisdom of my friends and family. I have been making progress, little by little, but it's all a part of my personal journey.