It’s time to leap into February. This year February is a fickle month. Usually Central Pennsylvania doesn’t have spring thaws until March when the sloppy snow melts down into a heap of gray grit and gravel along the roadsides. But as I write this, we have had rising temperatures. The white blankets of snow covering our yards are vanishing and dormant grass is now poking through.I’ve dedicated this year to trying to get some type of order in my life and my writing. I’ve promised myself I’m going to clean and rearrange my office. I have high hopes of tackling a stack of old fat folders with everything in them from clippings that intrigued me to the abandoned beginnings of a short story or novel. I am a person who when I find a fascinating article or book, I then make the conscious, often delirious, decision to keep it. My shelves are stacked with these do not throw away items.
I know I’m not alone. Many writers have this same hoarding disorder. We believe we will need these scraps of paper, books, or articles in the future. Sometimes we feel emotionally connected to them, but many times we think we might use them for triggering an idea and creating a piece of writing. Saving the papers or books makes us feel safe and comforted—even though they now lay dormant and forgotten for a century. Our shelves are like grandmother’s china cabinet. Much of the unmatched glassware, dishes, and other items were never used, but never disposed of—just in case they might someday come in handy.
It’s a phenomenon called the endowment effect. And many people have it for different reasons and with different items than those in grandmother’s bulging china cabinet. It’s a mind boggling idea that once we have an item and own it, it’s more difficult to let it go. We value those things we’ve acquired more highly than if we didn’t own them. Our minds tell us to save them.
My mind is now telling me to let go and put some order and space in my life and my office. (And don’t let me get started on the scary, jammed closets with clothes and whatnot which also need attention.)
Here’s hoping I leap on the bandwagon and get started. But after all, there’s an extra day this month, isn’t there? So I still have time if I don’t get into full swing just yet, right?
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