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Roll Top Epiphany

Having graced our house for more than 25 years, our large roll top desk had been the ultimate landing place for cards, bills, files, all manner of "things to do" lists, little mementos, assorted desk supplies, cancelled checks, stamps, etc., etc., etc. Lately, though, and when I say lately I mean the last five years or so, everything of importance has, little by little, migrated to my computer desk and the surrounding workspace. Yesterday, as I passed the roll top carrying laundry to the bedroom, it occurred to me that I had not opened any of its drawers or rolled up the top for quite a while. 

Now, usually when I start a giant project I make a big deal of it, make advance plans. "Saturday we are cleaning out the garage!" I will state emphatically to my disappointed husband on Tuesday, "Make sure we have plenty of garbage bags and pick up some of those plastic storage boxes at Home Depot this week, will you?" Yesterday's spur of the moment decision to clean out the roll top, therefore, came as a complete surprise even to me. It shouldn't take too long, I reasoned; it is, after all, just a desk. As it turned out, many hours later I realized this particular piece of furniture was not just a desk, it was a repository of memories and dreams, and a quirky and disconcertingly sketchy history of the day to day life of our family over the last 25 years. I won't bore you with all the details, but there was an amazing array of random items which caused me to call into question my legendary (in my own mind) organizational skills. Some of those antique "to do" lists still had items that could not yet be crossed off.  Somehow this desk had become a free zone in my otherwise well ordered world.

The right hand bottom drawer, however, is what gave me pause. In this drawer, along with maps and travel brochures and AAA Tour Books, were clippings, lots of clippings. For many years, every time I saw an article in the newspaper or a magazine for a place I'd like to go, an event I'd like to attend, great vacation ideas or the like I would cut it out and place it in the bottom drawer, thinking it one day to be inspiration for an actual day trip, excursion or vacation. Sadly, I reviewed one clipping after another and realized that precious few of them had ever been anything other than drawer stuffing. Almost immediately my head started spinning a sad story.   I could almost hear the violins in the background. Coming up next, the "Poor Little Me" show. This week's episode: "Broken Dreams, Wasted Years and Lost Opportunities". This mental indulgence lasted all of about five minutes until I started laughing out loud at the absurdity. Our minds try to make every little thing mean something but the truth of a situation is always so simple. We didn't do any of the newspaper clipping stuff. We did other stuff. Period.

It felt cathartic and liberating to toss all those clippings in the trash.






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