Memoir Monday, November 28th, 2016


Today I did something I’ve been thinking about for almost a year.  No, it’s not finishing my first novel.  That’s something I actually worked on regularly, although there have been a lot of days where I did just think about it.

It’s also not self-publish one of the many children’s stories I’ve written, though I certainly have spent a lot of time thinking about that and I’m pretty sure I’m going to make self-publishing a 2017 goal.

No, this achievement, may in fact be one of my greatest, based on how ridiculous it is that I didn’t accomplish it sooner.

Last year at this time I was pet/house sitting for my friends in Durham, NC, while they attended their future daughter-in-law’s wedding shower in Florida.  From Durham, I was heading directly to COP-21, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris, France, for two weeks, then flying back to Chicago which is where I was living last year.  So, I had a rental car in Durham because my car stayed behind in Illinois waiting for me to return.

Driving around the Chapel Hill-Raleigh-Durham isn’t that big a deal for me, because I lived there for 9 years.  I still occasionally get lost, and that’s what happened one fateful day while driving around the Triangle area.  I ended up on one of their new toll roads without my trusty iPass sensor because it, too, stayed behind in Illinois waiting for me to return.

When I got back from Paris, I found more than just my car and iPass waiting for me to return.  I also now had an invoice from the rental car company explaining that they had been billed for my illegal use of the tollway.  I did what any jet-lagged narcoleptic would do in that situation: I put the bill aside, took many naps over the next few weeks (it honestly took me months to recover), and then I completely forgot about it.

In the meantime, I discovered the stylus pen to my tablet was missing upon my Illinois return.  Turns out I left it in Durham.  My friend put in an envelope, weighed it, and put what she thought was appropriate postage on it.  The stylus showed up in my mailbox with a yellow envelope attached from my mailperson saying the postage was short $2.06.  I was surprised that the post office didn’t send my stylus back to Durham and I should have used that appreciation for momentum to act.  But, again, I put this envelope to the side, took one of my many naps, and promptly forgot about it.

For the next several months, I would come across these two outstanding bills, think about paying them, and for reasons that seemed valid at the time (e.g., no cash to leave for the mailperson, couldn’t find my checkbook, time to take another nap, etc.) I ended up shuffling the papers around and not doing anything about them.

This decision should not surprise anyone who knows me because one of the greatest challenges in my life is how I handle paper.  I suspect this is a genetic condition because everyone in my family except my oldest brother has a paper problem.  Apparently, the only thing my brother keeps on his kitchen table is a bunch of bananas.  I, however, have been known to keep notebooks, mail, magazines, and various other paper items that can be neatly stacked (or not) on any flat surface, such as a table, to then be completely ignored for months if not years.

Which brings us to today.  After holding on to these two outstanding debts since last December, packing them up and moving them with me from Naperville, IL, to Oak Park, IL, to Johnsonville, NY, to Norfolk, CT, I finally paid them off! 

I think I may have just heard angels singing Hallelujah in the background.

What finally prompted this action?  If you read my post last week, you’ll know one of my end-of-the-year goals is to devote 20 minutes every day to reading or listening to spiritual material.  I picked up Debbie Ford’s book, The Best Year of Your Life, when Amazon offered it for free in a daily Book Bub deal several months ago.  I started reading it last week and one of the main points in one of the earlier chapters is in order to have your best year, you have to go back in your past and create closure for anything holding you back.  So that’s what I’ve been doing.

And you know what?  It felt pretty dang good!  As I left the post office today, it felt like a huge weight had lifted off my shoulders.  I felt free and unencumbered and I also gave the post office employees a good laugh as I explained the situation and begged them to help me so I could finally be free of this debt.

I’m optimistic that I’ll be able to circumvent problems like this in the future.  In addition to having gained a husband who does not have a paper problem and who has more organization of his sock drawer than I have in my entire life, we have become more mindful of what we pack every time we move housesitting jobs and we are actively trying to reduce any and all excess, including paper.  Plus, I think Debbie Ford made an excellent point in her book and I need to recognize that when I procrastinate on completing daily tasks, it’s the same as holding negative energy in my life and why on Earth would I want to keep that floating around?

For now, though, I celebrating this victory.  It may seem small and trivial, but really I could not feel happier about getting it done.  And I would love for you to join me in the celebration – feel free to send me congratulatory remarks in the comments!

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