The deliberate amnesiac
Photo credit: Greg McKinnon
October 01, 2019
What would it be like to wake up one day with no memory of who you are? Where you have no idea about what and who you like or dislike, your perceived limitations, the things that you’re afraid of or for that matter the things that give you pleasure? What if you woke up one day to a blank slate of a brain? All the mental and emotional clutter gone? What kind of a whole new life could you create for yourself?
I’ve decided to find out. That is, without the head injury or trauma that usually comes with amnesia.
As a Professional Organizer, I make my living helping people with their clutter challenges, bringing calm back to what once was chaos, oftentimes in a matter of hours. My work is rewarding, I pinch myself often that I actually get paid to do something I love and am naturally good at and would do whether I got paid for it or not. I get a buzz from seeing my clients come back to life after having felt stuck and dead inside for so long.
However, this very ability, to be organized, to get done things in a fraction of the time it would take others has silently been working against me and I have been too busy to notice. In my eagerness to be all things to all people, I have been taking on more and more stuff and it’s never occured to me that if I put something on my plate, that perhaps I should remove something to keep my life somewhat balanced.
This past Summer, after my daughter’s wedding, I sat down on the couch with my bowl of cereal before I got on with my day and found myself not getting off it for five weeks. For the first time in the 14 years I have been in business, I found my body and mind rebelling and refusing to get back up. I’d pushed myself as far as I was going to and now mind and body decided to take an unplanned vacation whether the bank account or anything else allowed for it or not. So I chose to be graceful about it and do it guilt-free. A novel experience for me for sure. For those glorious five weeks all I did was sleep, eat, watch tv and read, on repeat. I loved every moment of it!
As my tired brain and body recovered, I realised that I had forgotten how to simply rest. I came to understand that I have been unhappy for a while and to cover this up, I had started taking on more and more things to do in order to distract myself. First I took on more by saying yes to everything that got asked of me, and then I didn’t even wait to be asked, I volunteered myself.
It’s then that I realised that this Professional Organizer needed to take a step back and reassess where my current life path was taking me. All things considered, a five week flake out on the couch is a gentle nudge for me to wake up before something much worse and undesirable happens. I’ll take it – don’t need a bigger or nastier nudge thank you!
So, I am making a very conscious decision to be different and do things differently in order to have a different life to the one I have been blindly running headlong into. I’m doing a pivot via my little year long experiment which I have dubbed, The deliberate amnesiac.
I’m going to consciously slow down and forget about how I used to be, do or think. I’ll go searching for that “being” part of myself that managed to get left behind somewhere. It’s time for this Organizer to get to work on being her own best client to get rid of some mental clutter in her own closet. This means letting go of some habits I’ve picked up along the way and dusting off and re-strengthening others. And I’m going to track everything.
The deliberate amnesiac experiment is my cold turkey deep dive into 12 months of abstinence from spending, eating out, junk food, TV and so much more to re-shape a stress-filled, busy and lacklustre life to one worth getting out of bed for again. Every area of my life will go under the microscope to declutter physically, mentally and emotionally – my work, finances, body, relationships, with self, others and technology. Maybe I’ll even change my name while I’m at it. Nothing is taboo or off limits.
Welcome to my adventure!