Planning a Break

Here we are, halfway through November, and I still haven’t taken much in the way of vacation. (For a variety of reasons. There was just so much uncertainty around the future that I didn’t feel comfortable taking a vacation over the summer, and the ones I’d had planned all fell through. I wanted to hold onto vacation days in case something more extreme happened. Many higher education institutions had been implementing furloughs, for example, and I’d rather get paid for time off than not.)

In any case, the bottom line is that I’m going to be taking a fair number of days off in the next month and a half. Knowing myself, if I don’t do something special, there’s a good chance I’ll blow through all of those days and get to the other side wondering what exactly I did with all those days. (Not that I’m planning on just working non-stop through the break, but still. I know I will be disappointed if I do nothing other than play video games and dink around the house checking Reddit.)

Enter my innate desire to plan just about everything. I like to sit down ahead of a break or an event and picture what I’d like to be able to say about it after it’s done. My kids can confirm that I’ve frequently posed the question: “If we had an awesome day today, what would we say at the end of it that made it so awesome?” Once you can define that, then it becomes much easier to reach that goal.

I would like to get some things done this break. I want to clean the house and declutter a fair bit. I can picture it in my head: a house where there’s less clutter. It looks peaceful. Relaxing. So I’ve already sat down and made a big long list of all the rooms I want to declutter and clean, as well as a list of places in those rooms that need decluttering and cleaning the most. Will I get to all of them? Who knows. But I know that by having the list and working toward it, I have a better chance at getting to more of them than I would have if I didn’t have the list.

Of course, I’ve also made a list of other things I want to do. Treats I want to bake. Activities I want to do. I know those lists probably sound like torture to some of you, but I know I feel more accomplished when I’m actually getting things done. With these lists, I can now go through my days off and pick a few things to do from the list each day. Not so many that I feel overwhelmed, but enough to feel like Something Got Done. And then when I’m done with that something, I can rest, knowing full well that I’m making progress toward my ultimate goal. It’s the same way I get entire books written. Once I write 1,000 words in a day, I’m good to go. I know I’m on track.

What am I going to do with all of the clutter? One of the things that’s been stopping me is that many goodwill stores aren’t taking any items right now. That’s been enough of a speed bump to stop me from making real progress. However, I know for a fact that each year at this time, I will begin to get boxes. Lots of boxes. So many boxes from so many places, bringing in things I’ve ordered for Christmas. Usually it’s a big pain to break all the boxes down. My current goal is to leave the boxes up and instead fill them with things I no longer want. Stuff I’m getting rid of. That way, it can all be packed and ready to be donated whenever places are taking donations again. If that’s earlier, great. If not, it doesn’t matter. It will all be tidied and ready for the future.

So wish me luck. Here’s hoping I get a fair bit off that list before January rolls around . . .


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