My Name Is Pollyanna And I Am A Disposaholic

My mantra became “Am I willing to carry this to the next moving truck?”

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Hi, my name is Pollyanna and I am a disposaholic.

Since I was in my 20’s I’ve moved house roughly every 18-24 months and I reached a state of mind where if I was considering buying a new item I would stop and think “Am I Willing To Carry This To The Next Moving Truck Again?” and “Have I Got Spare Money To Buy This?”.  If the answer was yes, I bought the item but most frequently the answer was no, this is not something that I feel passionately needs to be in my life, it is identified prior to purchase as clutter or a financial burden and has no place in the Whyte House.

I prefer to have very few possessions.  The fewer the better.  It’s a little bit trauma based but I pretend it is a lifestyle choice!  I prefer to have exactly what I need and be able to lay my hands upon it.  I am not a minimalist and like a home to be cozy but everything needs to be useful.

I like to know that everything I own is paid for, that there are no repayments due this month or for 60 months at a reasonable APR.  We don’t have fancy things, my car is 7 years old but new to me and I have a £60 per month payment interest free which is doing my head in because it is the only non-bill bill our house is carrying.

At present I have two sock drawers and that is distracting me from peace of mind, two is too many.  Sock drawers are having an effect on my peace of mind!  That is ridiculous.

I prefer to have very little artwork on the wall because it clutters my thoughts but I really love seeing what other people do to beautify their home.

This weekend I gathered all my gumption and tackled something over which I have a little phobia – paperwork.

I gathered all the post and paperwork from around the house, and was able to dispose of a bin bag of empty envelopes and circulars.  It’s only been 2-3 months since the last time I undertook the same activity.

It had felt like no matter where I turned my head there was Post and paperwork which needed my attention, there was no brain-break from bills because they had been in every line of sight.  But no more.  At least not for a few weeks anyway.

I have some rebates to claim and I have managed to prove that I cancelled a rolling contract in May but the charge was still coming out of my account in October for a portable Wi-Fi hub from EE, how cheeky!  But the service provider was great about it and a refund will be in my account within a week.

I found cheques!  I didn’t realise they had been sent to me for previous overpayments – they were sitting in unopened envelopes which had looked like more bills.

I gathered together pieces of correspondence I need to keep but don’t want to see again. I put them in a series of A4 envelopes without windows so that I don’t have to see those letter headed pages from solicitors again but they are to hand should the need arise at a later date.

There were so many other bits that are now in their rightful place that I can’t even begin to adequately convey the peace of mind and lightening of responsibilities this activity has blessed me with.

We all have coping strategies, mine is to blitz clutter and paperwork and to keep an appointment diary, on paper, in my handbag.

K.I.S.S.

Keep It Simple, Sweetheart!

The less stuff I have, the less I have to move, tidy, or maintain.  It’s a recipe for success.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zen During Turmoil

Occasionally there comes a time in personal turmoil that you reach a state of Zen.  You reach a point of “oh well” and start to calm into the trouble rather than fighting it and getting nowhere.

In the Urban Dictionary (a highly reputable source!!!) Zen is defined as thus:

“One way to think of Zen is this: a total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind.  Zen is a way of being.  It is also a state of mind.  Zen involves dropping illusion and seeing things without distortion created by your own thoughts”.

Now, I am no Japanese Master of Eastern Philosophies yet there comes a point in seeking Continue reading “Zen During Turmoil”

We wait for news

When we are overreacting to something happening now, we are really responding again to something that happened back then… a perfect example.

A most frustrating thing for me is open ended waiting.  Waiting for information or news.  I do not wait well.  Outwardly things appear fine, inwardly I get in a temper.  Waiting.  I can wait for Christmas or Birthdays, I can wait joyfully for the arrival of a new baby or wait patiently and excitedly for a holiday.  These things are finite durations and have little negative impact associated.  But waiting for life changing news.  That’s just pulse elevatingly trying.

I find myself in a mind-set of “fine, if you don’t care, neither do I”.  It takes a great deal of concerted effort to shake the negative feelings away.  Waiting.

Have you got a minute?  Let me tell you a story.

A long time ago, possibly 38 years ago, two relatives were not speaking.

It had been nearly two years and I wanted my Nan back, who was one of the parties involved.  So I, knowing what was best and having the clarity of youth, aged 10 or less, remembered my nan’s phone number.  I secretly used the big and corded house phone to call Nan and say hi, and that the other person missed her and loved her.  My nan was delighted and asked “really?”, “Yes, absolutely”. To which she responded “Have them call me and I’d love to have you over for a visit”.  She was only in the next town across but it might as well have been the moon for all the contact we’d been having of late.  Later that day, with butterflies in my tummy I told the other person that Nan had called and that she missed us and wanted us to visit ….. which was technically 66% true, she did miss us and she had been on the telephone but hadn’t initiated.  The person I was speaking with was delighted and called straight away.  It was a strained conversation but I could tell my side was pleased.  The first hint of my deception was revealed as a “you called me first” conversation arose and the person on my end of the phone turned to stare at me but let it slide in the moment.  A visit was arranged.  We went round on the Saturday.  We arrived in my families old Jaguar car in our Sunday finest.  We went in to the ground floor, unheated 2 bedroom apartment with a kitchen the size of a small closet.  We all started chatting and I was hoping I would not be fully found out or revealed.  My furtive gaze darted around the room on this sunny day.  I held my breath.  Then it happened, the deception was uncovered as the two parties talked, the one expressing delight the other had called, the other expressing confusion as it was clearly the other way round.  Then all faces turned to me.. “What did you do?” came the question from the elder woman.  I tried explaining that I knew they would speak if someone would start it off but their voices dropped an octave and I was told “Get to the car, I’ll deal with you later”.  I begged forgiveness but I was told again to go to the car on the driveway, so I did, helped along by the scruff of my collar.  I cried my 10 year old eyes out.  I cried louder hoping they’d hear me and feel sorry, I hid down hoping they’d think I’d wandered off and come out to see where I was but no.  I was in the car.  Nobody was coming out.  After half an hour or so I ventured back in and said sorry, I was told to go to the car, so I did.  After another half an hour or so according to the clock on the walnut dashboard, I tried again and went in, begging please please, I’m sorry.  I was told to go back out.  When I was in the car I could hear them chatting and laughing together.  I knew I’d been right, that if someone started, the whole thing would resolve and here it was, the evidence, they were resolving their issues and talking, I was vindicated.  After another period of time I ventured in again this time begging “Please, sort me out now, please”, which everyone knew meant “please, hit me now, get it over with” but they said get outside, in the car, and a third adult said “I’ll sort you out later”.  I ventured one more attempt before the end of the two hour visit and was told “I’ll sort you out later” again by the third person.  I cried quietly this time, trembling in the car as I waited, feeling queasy.  There were no distractions, no colouring books, no toys, this was old school car travel and I was alone with my thoughts.  They did eventually emerge from the home, they were cheerful, kisses and hugs goodbye.  I was miserable and afraid.  They did get me home and I did get a wallop or few.  When the spanking came, I was relieved, apart from being in peoples bad books, it was over and done with.  I just had to tolerate their moodiness until they got over my deception.  38 years later I stand by my assessment that if they’d start talking they’d resolve that particular issue.  I was right.  There were plenty of other times that issues arose but even knowing how to resolve them, I stayed well clear in future.  I know I shouldn’t have deceived the adults.  If I had been courageous I would have said that I called the other person and they were pleased to hear from me but I was not filled with courage at that point, the stakes were too high. Continue reading “We wait for news”

Redundancy or not? That is the question.

I may or may not have Christmas off but people keep telling me to wait and see. I dislike.

For the love of Sundays!!  I dislike not knowing, if I know there is something I need to know and I don’t know, I dislike that feeling.  I can deal with almost anything so long as I know.  Right now, the place I work is going through a restructure.  Restructures are necessary.  The company I work for is very profitable in a hard working, won every penny way.  It’s a $2bn company set up 80 years ago by two people in London.  It deserves continued success.  Waiting for news is unpleasant.  It would be even more unpleasant if the income protection insurance I purchased a year and a half ago wasn’t (hopefully) in place.  The insurance (hopefully) gives me a degree of solace.  Waiting for the shoe to fall is not a hoot, it is not easy or comfortable.

I have mentally made plans for if my number is up.  I just really would like to know.  Having November and December off would be welcome.  I have not had a happy time off work between jobs since I was 12 years old.  I could finish tidying and decorating the house, build a shed, re-train in a new industry, have a loft ladder installed, sell all the bits of tools and electronics cluttering up the place, and start a little side business which hopefully would set me up for a comfy-ish retirement in 20 years.  There’s a lot to do.  I just really would like to know.  I know the news will arrive when it arrives and that nothing I do in the meantime will change that.  It is a frustrating situation for everybody concerned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wasted Saturday

A wasted Saturday is a rare and glorious gift to ourself.

It seems that I am good in company at the moment, feeling genuinely cheerful and happy to be in social situations just chatting or dancing or listening to buddies, but am plunging in to worry and anxiety when alone when there is nowhere else to run from myself.  Feeling emotionally breathless is absolutely rubbish and I recommend it to nobody at all, not even my worst enemies.  So, Saturday my daughter and I took a day off of everything, absolutely everything.

When I’d awoken before dawn I realised that I could afford to get a bad day out of my system as I wasn’t required to be anywhere particular this weekend apart from Sunday Services.  I had a two A4 page of Honey-Do’s I’d written for myself, each line being a tiresome project which needed completing in the house preferably before winter falls. And I couldn’t face it.  I was close to tears, on a Saturday! What a waste of tears.  I determined I was not going to cry on my own time!  Instead, I was going to be still.  I was going to ignore the day as long as I could.

My teen padded in to my untidy room around midday and flopped on the bed.  We conspired together that we deserved a complete day off having run ourselves ragged for years.  It was exciting to be in this together.  We chatted a while about books we were reading on Audio because we’re both a little dyslexic and I’d rather listen to a book than struggle with text and so would she.  We’re both perfectly capable of reading but sometimes for recreation we just have someone read the darned book to us.  It feels like cheating but what is the point of technology if you can’t use it to enhance your experience of literature and make available that which you wouldn’t have tackled without the electronic intercedent.

After a while she padded off again and I settled in for more breathing.  Breathing is something I’ve taken for granted all these years but of late my glorious mind keeps trying to trick me that there is insufficient oxygen in the atmosphere.  Stupid glorious mind…

So, I lay there in my unmade bed and breathed.  Then when I’d done that for an hour or so I took a nap, then listened to a show and then breathed again.

I was roused only by the offspring’s enquiry as to what was for dinner.  Without said offspring I would gladly have spent all the hours until the next day in my room, but I’m contracted to care for the kid so up we got and a dinner of beef burgers and pasta was rustled.  Then, relocated to the living room, I sat and breathed some more until I realised it was now 2am and I really should go to my untidy room to breathe.  Brushed my teeth and toddled off to my chamber for some more breathing.

Is it me, or did somebody really turn down the oxygen supply in the atmosphere?  Asking for a friend.

2hrs 15 minutes

I turn over and look at the clock. I turn back and avoid the clock.

2hrs 15 minutes is the average time I’ve been spending in bed in the mornings, awake, trying to gee myself up to be enthusiastic about the day and everything I should have completed the day before which carries over to today and how todays actions are piling up too, compounding the problem.  Waking before the alarm is not something to which I am accustomed.  Laying there staring at the pillow beside me until the very last second is not something I want to make a permanent part of my life.  I sigh.  I turn over and look at the clock.  I turn back and avoid the clock.  I just breathe and try not to think.  I am well slept but weary.  The weariness never abates.  It’ll get better.

Somewhere between here and infinity

If all your peace of mind is gone, and is replaced by hypothetical money worries, you need to speak with your friends.

Don’t you love friends who talk you down from the emotional ledge?  (The correct answer is yes, yes we do love those friends).  I’ve been using much of my spare time to ponder next steps now that we are in the privileged position of being in credit for the first time in almost ever, and for the first time since becoming a fully fledged adult taking care of adult responsibilities.  For clarity, it’s not much in credit but there is a plus sign not minus on the ol’ bank account and that’s a good enough start for me.

When I was working toward bringing credit agreements down to a zero balance, there was a definite goal, a specific figure had to be reached for that to be successful, there was a stopping point.  While the task was immensely difficult, the actual ability to quantify the required outcome was simple.  Keep paying for stuff until there is no more to pay.  Reducing to a nought.  Simple to keep straight, eh.  If there was more than a nought on the balance of the credit agreement, I wasn’t there yet and had to keep going.  Simple.

What has had me vexed is the next step.  The next baby step.  It has kept my mind occupied while I pondered, cogitated, and strategized.

Now that the little number is increasing there is no ceiling, no natural end goal.  Numbers go up to infinity plus one as any clued up 8 year old will tell you.  It vexes me because there is no way to know how much is enough.  How much will we need to have set aside to get by in the next month, year, few years, decade, until retirement or until the end of my natural life.  There is no figure.  It will always be too little.  It will always be more than we had.

With no natural end result my mind has been in a spin.  It has in actuality been quite a little more difficult than dealing with paying down credit.  At least if we had almost nothing we knew what we could do with our little porridge pot.  At least if the money ran out we knew or at least hoped that we had food storage and petrol in the car and the bills were paid.  Although awfully difficult, there were specifics and I am a lady who loves specifics.  I need to know the end from the beginning and if I don’t then all merry emotional hell breaks loose.  Uncertainty does not sit well with me, never has, likely never will.

So, all merry emotional hell has been breaking loose as a consequence of feeling somewhat untethered.  Which is ridiculous.  How can success make a person uneasy?  It’s daft.  I felt like a fool.  I’d met a target, a stretch target as we like to say at work, and yet I was managing feelings larger than before I started.

Anyway, with a sky’s the limit, no end in sight, don’t know how much is enough mind-set I wasn’t feeling very settled.  Until in walks a buddy called Sinead, who herself was hot on the heels of a friend called Mel.

When I was in a tailspin and worrying out loud “what if the roof falls off?”, Mel had quizzically looked at me and said “you have house insurance”.  I slapped my forehead, of course I have insurance, of course if there is a disaster at the home not of my doing and that I cannot fix myself I can rest well knowing we are covered.  It soothed my troubled heart.  That worked for a few days.

Then I went on to fretting on the topic of “how much is enough to have set aside and when do I need to have it by?” because bills have due dates, don’t you know!  I was and still am in a due date mentality.

After confiding in Sinead in the corridor at Church between classes (sorry, missus!) who had only congratulated us on getting to where we were, she came up with the plan of having an account with a specific goal or figure in mind, like £500 for example, and when that is achieved, that is full.  I’ll have done it, it would be completed.  Then open another goal with a slightly increased figure in mind, work toward that and when that reaches the pre-determined figure, I’ve succeeded in that too, and it is done.  Then do it again and so on.  Effectively, we cannot determine the future but we can set goals and work toward them and tick them off when they are completed.  Is this making any sense?  Add a finite factor to an infinite problem.

It had the immediate impact of settling my troubled heart.  How simple.  How insightful of her to realise I wasn’t faux-probleming and that this really was a big deal to my family.  To both these ladies I doff my hat and say thank you in writing as well as in person.  Complex worries had simple solutions, these ladies comprehended the worries and helped by suggesting ways through.  How beautifully hearted of them.  Aren’t they lovely?

I was told a few years ago that someone perceived me to be a Solution Oriented Optimist.  Someone who could see the genuine problem, review, decide, act and stay positive when possible and even stay positive when highly improbable but never deluded.  Their opinion of my was a surprise because I knew what went round in my head at pace to get to the Solution they saw in front of them.  I think this experience over the past couple of weeks has fallen in to this category, without my friends I couldn’t see the solution.  They helped me peep through the fog of worry.  A fog which was of my own making but real to me none the less.  A solution has been formatted and we are making great headway.  Thanks for listening while I got this out of my head and on to electronic paper so to speak.