Stack of Dreams

By | January 29, 2011

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Sometimes you go through the things in that stack, shuffle the papers around, throw out a few of the very outdated items, and then pile it back up neatly and put it back in its designated space.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.

Ev's Stack of Dreams

Ev's Stack of Dreams

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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7 thoughts on “Stack of Dreams

  1. Andge

    thanks for that. i just recently put my stack in a basket so i could move my desk. i have not touched my stack for a few days, and have been contemplating what would happen if i just transferred said stack to the incinerator. bye bye dreams.

    there are some, however, who do not own a stack. and they can’t quite understand why people like you and i “need” such a pile. or three.

    1. Ev Post author

      I can’t understand how a person can NOT have a stack. Are they that organized that their brains can deal with things then and there… every time?!? I like to sit on things for awhile and process the contents before I can decide how/if/when to take action. And even if I do take action, sometimes I like to keep the reminder that I took action.

  2. Tina

    Ev,
    Your post gave me something good n interesting to read while sitting on orange line train on my way to chicago midway airport. My thoughts on the never dying stack of paper goods..1.as a graphic designer my stack also contains stuff just because it looks cool. 2. My stacks are currently having a cool wall organizer built for them. Bob built the wooden part and I am sewing 2 cloth bags to hang from the wooden structure. One part will be the inbox so Bob and I don’t have to ask each other if the mail was checked each day. The 2nd bag will be for the “took a peek at this but will deal with it later” pile.(Wish us luck with this system…if nothing else though, at least it will look cool.) 3. I am thankful for online stuff, to cut down on mail!!!

    1. Ev Post author

      Great idea, with the two systems! I’m curious to see how it works, as in: will things be put in the wrong spot, and jumbled together after awhile, or will you be able to keep them separate? and does it make sense to have two systems, and will you remember to “deal with it later?” As you said, at least it will look cool. 🙂

  3. Howard

    I really enjoyed your “Stack of Dreams.” I go through my stack about once a month, throw most of it out, and then begin the stacking process again. The woman who cleans my place every other week usually moves my stack and puts things in the stack that don’t belong in the stack, but I like her, so I give her a pass. My stack did not have a name before I read this, but it does now, and it is comforting to know that i am not the only one with a (mostly) worthless stack!

    1. Ev Post author

      It’s true; the only one who knows what really “belongs” in the stack is the owner of the stack! It doesn’t contain other peoples’ dreams, so how would they know any better?

  4. Tina

    Amen to that. Nobody is allowed to sort the stack but the owner!!!

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