I’ll paint a brief picture of the space around me so you can get a feel for what I’m wrestling with. I’m building a foundation on which I’m hoping will guide me out of the place I’ve been in for much of my life. 

It is Christmas Eve of 2020. The apartment that I occupy is the lower level of a duplex that has been converted to two units. It has two bedrooms. One for me and one for my son who spends half of his time with me because I am two years post-divorce. I can’t write that without saying that I also have a daughter who does not live with me because divorce is difficult and filled with complexity. I miss seeing her on the regular, but we are finding our path. Due to Covid, and other life’s path issues, they are all I have this Christmas. These words are me trying to be okay with that.

Around me is moderate chaos. Which seems to be a good grouping of words to describe my life. My dog, Angus, is lying on the floor that is currently covered in his fur because I have not taken the time to vacuum in a week. If you have a black dog with long shaggy fur and beige carpeting, you will know that you need to vacuum more than once a week to keep your carpets anywhere near beige. I have a laundry basket next to me that is full of dirty socks. Wrapping paper, tape and Angus’ collar are lying in the middle of the floor. The collar is there because I switched him over to a Christmas-themed collar about three weeks ago and I never put this collar away.

That collar never got “put away” because I don’t have a place for it. You see, my brain goes into thermonuclear meltdown when it comes to organizing. If there was a set place for that collar to live, it would likely be there now. This is because I, generally, can get myself to a place where I will put things into its place if it has a place. If a dog collar doesn’t have a place, it gets set on the ground with the thought “I’ll find a place for that later”. Later ends up being two or three weeks after it originally landed on the floor, on Christmas Eve, when I decide that I am going to work on organizing my life because I’m alone in my apartment all day.

I look to my left into the kitchen and I see two piles of “stuff”. The pile closest to me is a box of plumbing and other things from a project I have been working on called WeeWash. The box is full of bits of plumbing and other knick knacks that were left over from my prototyping of the product. The other pile is a bunch of wood left over from the same project. For many years I had a design studio. It was an office where I would leave the house and go sit at a desk 35 minutes to an hour from my house depending on traffic. I actually have had several studios in my years, some of them had a shop, others didn’t. Now, my shop is the back patio of this little two bedroom apartment I’m in. That leaves me with storing the detritus of my designer brain farts in my kitchen because they don’t have a place.. 

Basically, my life is 45 minutes and a big green garbage bag away from being organized. It’s been this way my whole life. I have an incredibly active brain that is constantly on the move. I can come up with amazing ideas and make them a reality. People will tell me what an awesome idea it is and how much they love it, but I don’t have a place for it. So it sits in my kitchen and collects dust. 

There’s a pile of other things that I’m reflecting on as well. Failures in my career and relationships that I beat to a pulp because I didn’t have a place to put my baggage. 

A friend of mine recently gave me shit for being too hard on myself. He’s right. I am. But…

I really need to find a place for all my shit. I’m sitting here on a Christmas eve and I have piles of shit that I have just ignored because it didn’t have a place. Some of those piles are close to 40 year old. After a while, it is difficult to ignore the fact that ignoring one pile of shit is fine. But when it becomes multiple piles of shit, you have a problem.

2020 has ben a ride for most of us. Here’s to hoping 2021 comes with a complimentary pooper scooper.

Peace and love to everyone!

2 Comments

  1. Julien on December 25, 2020 at 10:29 pm

    I can relate.
    The son of a hoarder of sorts, I inherited some of the traits. The inability to be decisive and get rid of items I will reasonably have no further use for, just because they retain some intrinsic value. Half-finished projects, never-started projects, leftover pieces from finished projects.
    I do not have your brilliance however, and my piles would look like proper hoarder material were it not for my better-half (a certified interior designer and uncertified life coach to her certifiable artistic-minded husband).
    Hang the collar to a nail by the door.

    • Jon Winebrenner on December 26, 2020 at 6:44 pm

      I did eventually put the collar away. It has a home where I will likely forget where I put it (part of my procrastination when it comes to giving a place a home).

      As for the rest of it, I appreciate your comments of me being “brilliant”. I have never felt “brilliant”. Like ever. I am an embodiment of imposter syndrome. What I do know I am good at is not being afraid to try something. If I see something I want, I am pretty single-minded when it comes to pursuing it…once I cross the threshold of actually doing it.

      I learned way back that art isn’t art until you hang it on a wall. As soon as I put it in a frame, or post it online, or take the time to display it on a wall, it has become art. The hardest part is putting it out there. After that, nobody will ever be a harsher critic than me.

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