Friday, April 22, 2011

Completing my drainers and a surprising result

For years, I've been passing on Cheryl Richardson's ideas about "drainers," those tasks and projects that have been lurking in our brains and on our to-do lists for too long. That chair that needs repairing or recovering, that purse that never worked out that I keep meaning to return, the watch with the cracked crystal, that phone call to the bank to protest a charge. All those things that when we think of them our energy just gets drained away. Richardson really encourages getting those things done. Make a decision, find the money, take the time, or let them go/give them away. Release that energy for something else.

Over the past year or so, I've been steadily working through my drainers. I saved up my money, got the big green chair and its ottoman recovered. I got the broken leg on the antique table fixed and sold it. I sold several other things that had been in my basement storage unit. I cleaned out the basement storage unit and got rid of a lot of stuff. I got that watch fixed this week and that purse returned earlier in the month. And two weeks ago, I found a beautiful small rug on a great sale that is a perfect replacement for the worn one too well favored by my old cat Reinie. My list is now pretty much complete.

Curiously, while taking care of each one was a great relief and felt good, there was a curious emptiness when the list really shrank to next to nothing. I felt caught up, unburdened by the drainers, and yet I also felt lost, or perhaps more accurately, at loose ends. And I wondered if somehow having that list of tasks and incomplete projects serves a deeper purpose. If it keeps us grounded, feeling connected to life, maybe even important in a different form of busy-ness. Kind of a "boy am I needed--look at all these things I need to do."

And they also kept me from turning my energy to some of those things on my excuses list. I couldn't possibly paint, I have too many drainers to take care of. Now with the drainers gone, I'm looking at what is really standing in the way of my doing what I say I want to. Hmmm.


Bridget B. said...

hmmmm . . . there is something compelling about having that big juicy to-do list, isn't there? I also like the distinction between drainers and excuses.

sorella said...

Dear Jill,

Just recently having been away from my drainers made me appreciate this discussion even more. I am committed to getting that drainer list taken care of this spring -- either through doing the tasks, or letting them go! The spring neighborhood clean-up season is upon us, and I fully expect to avail myself of the benefits of huge dumpsters and the parking lot full of freebies (as in donating to that pile of freebies!).