Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Last Box

It happened one week ago during the February break from school when I finally had the time to tackle unpacking the pile of boxes and bags that had been sitting in the corner of my room since the move in October.  They each contained a mish-mosh of last minute packing - tacks, bobby pins, the necklace I was wearing before the day before the move, a box of items from the desk of the job I'd left over a year ago.  Though I had been in my new apartment for over four months I'd yet to feel like I was really settled here and I blamed that pile.

I began on a Monday and over the next 24 hours I sorted, tossed and put away the items in the boxes.  There were things I'd wondered why I bothered to keep and so I put them into bags destined for Goodwill.  Others made their way directly to the trash bag, including some actual trash that I'd stuffed into a canvas bag at the end of the day.  There were some delightful surprises as well, forgotten pictures, a pair of earrings that I'd been missing since I left my old job and notes from a close friend.

It was after the box of office items that I realized what had just happened.  I'd flattened the now empty box and stuffed it into the recycling bin on the porch.  I came back inside to stand in the doorway of my room, hand on hips, surveying my space when it hit me.  I'd just unpacked The Last Box.


In all of my adult years, in all of the places I have lived there has always been a Last Box.  With each move the box and it's contents changed but there has always been one that bore the title.  The one full of things I didn't quite know what to do with so I never really unpacked it or I would become so tired of unpacking I just gave up leaving one box unopened.   The box would be shoved to the back of the closet where it sits, forgotten until I move again.  

One year, two years, elevens years later it's discovery always leads to exclamations among my friends of, "Oh I have one of those boxes too.  Ten years it's been in my closet..."  and "oh, so THAT's where my grapefruit spoon went" from me.  

Perhaps we all have a Last Box...but for now my Last Box is no more.  For the first time in my adult life I have a fairly accurate mental accounting of my Stuff.  When I look around my room I see an excess of books, craft supplies, beach rocks, general clutter and too many pictures but no boxes.  There is no mystery of, "Didn't I once have a (insert item here)?" only to have it turn up years later when the Last Box is pulled from its hiding place.

I am sure there is some psychological explanation for all of those Last Boxes; something to do with commitment issues, or maybe needing to feel like one's options are always open, or perhaps it's just due to the frustrations that come from moving but I do know one thing.  With the Last Box gone I do feel more settled.  My space actually has SPACE and maybe I'm finally beginning to feel, at least within the walls of my room, like I'm at home.

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Late Start....

"Whatever you love doing at six years old is what you will probably love doing when you are sixty..."  or something like that. 

I don't recall where or when, though it was recently, I heard some approximation of that quote but I do remember when I heard it a gong went off in my mind.  At six or so years old my bed was a stage and I was its star.  I conducted dance shows with my friend Tracy before of an audience of tombstones in the cemetery atop the hill near our house.  I don't know if thought to myself, "I want to spend my life on the variety show stage" but my imaginary world was filled with fantasies of duets with Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, comedy skits with Abbott and Costello, and I certainly loved making a spectacle of myself. I'm not yet sixty, but at forty-one I find myself on the stage for real but it took me nearly thirty years to step out from behind the curtain.

There have been so many times I have felt ill prepared for the endeavor I've chosen to take on (confession: it has only been in the past month that I have learned what upstage and downstage meant) and much of my learning has been trial and error.  In the past several weeks I have found myself encountering and engaging with a broad spectrum of creative people, many of who are far younger than I, who have been working on their particular art for many years.   I can't help but think about what would have happened if at some point between six years old and now I'd never stopped doing what I love to do?

I know that dwelling on "what ifs" and looking back to find "if onlys" are not productive modes of thought, and I do my best to keep focused on doing what I love NOW.   I know that in my early twenties I didn't have a true understanding or appreciation for the payoff and value of practice and hard work.  I might not have known the sorts of people who are a part of the troupe I perform with and who are very large reason for its success.  There are so many unknowns that the question of "what if" can never be satisfactorily answered.

In the end, I am grateful to be doing something I love whatever stage of my life I may be in.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Life sometimes behaves like a five year old...

Life has never tossed anything my way that I couldn't eventually handle.  I say eventually because every once in a while there are those life events that are sort of like mini explosions that take place six inches from you face, knocking you to the ground leaving you blind and deaf with your arms flailing around for something familiar so you can determine if you are still in the realm of the living.  Thankfully those events are rare...

My life is in a bit of upheaval right now.  It isn't anything explosive; this is more like life is playing that annoying childhood game of poking me sharply and repeatedly with with it's index finger while shouting over and over, "I'm poking you!  I'm poking you!  I'm poking you!"

I won't go into detail right now, mostly I want folks to know why I've not been keeping up with blogging once a week and why my promised blog announcement has not been made,  These things will come and I'll also more than likely write about the issues I am facing right now as well.  

Thank you for your patience, and expect more soon.