picture of toddler unshelving books.
The author, age 1, attempting to organize.

It’s my birthday today. That means yesterday I was rebellious, wayward, and annoyed by everything. I refused to go to the gym. I didn’t make a doctor’s appointment as I planned. I had promised myself I wouldn’t spend any money until next week because things are a bit tight, but I broke my promise. I bought a hanging fern and a large backyard pot at the hardware store. And then I ate handfuls of chocolate after dinner. And tried not to snap at my husband.

This morning I was a little better, but I still feel wild and out of control. I spent much of the morning putting my photo prints in order. Though I’ve worked at this project for over a year, removing prints from so-called “magnetic” albums, putting them in sleeves, scanning the precious ones, and starting to sort the prints chronologically, I’m close enough to having them in order to know they are still a morass of chaos. The binders, and all the plastic pages in which I have encased the loose photos, are different sizes and different configurations. Again, things are a bit tight, so I can’t just order five identical-size binders and a whole bunch of standardized plastic pages with varying sizes of pockets. Not yet. No.

Therefore my past–and my present–will continue to be disorganized, no matter how much I have cracked my whip at it, no matter how much I have tossed out duplicates, fuzzy photos, and enigmatic photos that seem to have nothing to do with me. And I can’t go buy a Scotch pine just because I have a pot to put it in. No.

My disarray and disorganization may seem mild. No. I am a hurricane inside when I think about plastic pocket pages or planters. Traffic signs are banging back and forth in my brain. Rain is sluicing down the verges of my mental pathways, forming eddies of gasoline-rainbowed pearl and loose trash.

I have to accept that every kind of anniversary brings me to the edge of rationality. Birthdays, Christmas, and my AA anniversary, all of them make me into a difficult, distracted, driven, impatient twelve-year-old, even though today I have been alive for 68 turns of the Earth around the Sun. Or perhaps, because of that longevity, I keep thinking that I should have gotten at least a little more organized by now.

No. Apparently not. And now I am going to meditate, have lunch, and not go to the gym after all, because I am still twelve years old and while it is a good idea for twelve-year-olds to take care of themselves, they really don’t want to. No.

3 thoughts on “Wild

      1. Sandy says:

        I’m fine. Loved your organizing journey. I’ve been trying to empty out my garage for the past three years with little progress. The only way I see it getting done is if I had to move and as the steps are beginning to be a little problem that may be in the near future. Since my grandson is near by I would like to stay in the area. (Note I said the grand nit my son and daughter-in-law, though I enjoy seeing them as well, we know whose important)

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