You know that stack of papers that builds up over time? You know what’s in it: the correspondence you’ll get to eventually, the notice about that seminar or event you’d like to attend, the program from the concert you actually did attend, the coupons of sale items you might buy, a quickly jotted note with a friend’s book recommendation, the flyer that caught your eye that you’re saving for future reference, a couple receipts you wanted to hang onto, an article or even a whole magazine that you mean to read when you have time, even the junk mail you never got around to throwing away.
Sometimes you go through the things in that stack, shuffle the papers around, throw out a few of the very outdated items, and then pile it back up neatly and put it back in its designated space. There is absolutely nowhere convenient you can put the papers in this stack except back in the stack. And the best place for the stack is where it already was. There is no better place for it. Which is annoying. Because that stack is in the way. It takes up room. It still looks sort of messy, even when straightened and weeded out.
Easy accessibility is the reason the stack is where it is, and half the reason it exists. If you hid it away in a drawer somewhere, you’d have to go into that drawer every time you had papers to add to the stack. And, in your laziness (or hurriedness), you would start a new stack in a convenient place, to be added to the drawer when you had time. But you know you will never get around to it. And then you’ll have two stacks: an old stack, hidden in a drawer, and a more current stack, back in that annoying but oh-so-convenient place where the old stack used to be.
WHY do you have this stack? WHY do you insist on hanging onto this (mostly) worthless pile of stuff? I mean, face it. Would you miss it if it was gone? Well, do you miss the stack that’s hidden in the drawer? You haven’t been near it for over two months! Be honest. No. You would not miss it; you don’t even quite remember what’s in it. But there’s a reason for keeping the stack. It’s the same reason you can’t throw most of it away even when you go through it for the seventeen-hundredth time.
Getting rid of it means admitting defeat. It means you will never save that money, never read that book, never have time to relax, or learn something new, or attend another exciting event. This is the stack of dreams! If you throw it all in the trash, you might forget. And you are not ready to give up on, or forget about, your dreams.
Me, neither. That’s why, when I leave for Armenia in May, I’m going to save my stack in a drawer. And when I get back in August 2013, the first thing I’m going to do is put my airline tickets on the counter, as seeds for my new stack (which I’ll put in the drawer with the other stuff when I have time).
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