If you’ve been retired for a while, and I have, it gets harder to focus and accomplish tasks. At least it has for me. That is because time is available. Lots of it. It is easy to forget that it (the time, that is) continues to march on, even when nothing is done. And, there is always tomorrow, or next week, or whenever.
Which brings me to the current problem: how to structure my time so something gets done, but I don’t feel rushed, pushed or some similar desperate feeling. It actually turns out that I get more done when I feel a need to get it done. That is, the tasks need to have importance in the larger scheme of my life. I can tell you for sure that organization is important to me, but dust isn’t. It’s not just the spin, it’s the comfort level I have with a certain “look”. So, organized notebooks and files are comfortable, piles are out. Stuffed but neatly stacked totes are in, but stacks on shelves are out. And so on and on and on. And, the list is in, and haphazard thinking and disorganization are out.
We were trying to bring order out of chaos last weekend. Papa is the proud owner of a new laptop. He needed a wee bit more room, so I inspected the shelf near his desk. I removed two shelves of books, leaving room for more camera and computer equipment. I carried the notebooks into the dining room, and balanced them on the top of the shelf Papa build me in front of the bay window. I would have put them on the shelf, but it was full. Then I went into the bedroom, looked at the shelf (you guessed it) Papa build me there and considered the problem. I e-mailed D1 to ask if she could clear out the build-in drawers at the top of the stairs. She said yes. So, I took a tote, piled the extra sheets and bed pads from the shelf in the bedroom into it. Then I picked all the instruments up from the closet, put the shoes on the bottom, and piled the instruments on top.
But a funny think happened on the way to organization. D3 came into the dining room and asked if we had gotten some new notebooks. I said, “No, I just moved some of the old ones to give Dad some more room”. She replied that she was afraid I had found more relatives. I just laughed, and said of course we have new ancestors, sometimes at an amazing rate, but mostly slowly.
Then, I took a good look at the notebooks on the top of the shelf. They are the same white color as the large fleet of notebooks on the shelves below. The ones below contain the evidence I’ve collected in my more than 20 year search for our collective roots. There are transcriptions of land records, census records, and military records. There are birth, baptism, death and burial records. There are transcriptions of school records, county histories, military histories, church histories. These notebooks are arranged by last name from Abbott, Orsen, one of Papa’s 3rd great grandfathers, to Ziegler, Susan, one of Papa’s 2nd great aunts. Funny that no one in my family is first or last, isn’t it?
My collection of genealogy “stuff” comes under scrutiny often, because it is so visible. But I keep finding more, and organizing more. Crazy hobby. Crazy.