Decluttering the Soul

In a few hours I’ll officially be on vacation and trust me, I couldn’t be more ready. The past month has been chaotic to say the least. My job is always hectic in June, as we host our largest fundraising event of the year (and by large, I mean a 2-day outdoor festival attended by 365,000 people), but this year it was more stressful than usual. For one, our website – which I am solely responsible for – crashed during the event. More than a million people accessed the site. As proud as I was of our 500% increase in traffic over last year, I was also frazzled from spending the entire weekend working to move things around on the server to help ease the traffic flow.

You may be wondering why a non-profit grant writer would be working on web servers. You’re not alone. I ask myself that pretty often. In non-profit work, everyone wears multiple hats. My other hat is IT.

The festival hasn’t been my only stressor though. Work in general has been more difficult than it should be. Key people are harder to reach and I’m firmly convinced that the Universe is rerouting my emails. I emailed 3 people (including HR) to expect a call from our new landlord to verify my employment and not a single one of them responded. I have to assume they received the call since we got the apartment but no one has mentioned our move…not even in casual conversations. I’d understand if I worked for a large company but there are only 19 of us. We all know the names of each other’s pets, yet no one can acknowledge my change of address request? To me it just seems odd.

Odd like this…Once upon a time, one of my co-workers (in a different job) called me at 5 AM to say that she couldn’t get into her laptop. It wouldn’t accept her password. We laughed and joked that she had been fired. An hour later she called me back to say that she had indeed been terminated. Her job (and later mine) had been downsized.  

Angie says that I worry too much. She’s forever reminding me that we’d be okay if I lost my job. In my heart, I know this is true. In my head though, I hear my mother’s voice. As a baby-boomer she’s of the firm belief that “work equals worth”. If you’re not employed, you’re not doing your part. Since moving back to Tennessee, I’ve found myself drowning in opinions like this that differ from my own. And when you’re drowning, it’s really hard to think.

I’m reminded all the time of why I left Tennessee in the first place. I don’t fit in here. If worrying about work wasn’t enough of a stressor, this fact alone takes the cake. It’s insanely difficult to function in an environment that values conformity over all else. It’s hard talk about minimalism, simple living, and travel when everyone around you shops for fun and cashes out their vacation days at the end of the year to pay for Christmas.

So there it is…all the things that are bothering me right now…laid out in this blog post. Why? Because I need to declutter my soul. I’m packing for our vacation and there’s no room in the bag for all these negative feelings.

Our vacation will take us back to a place we feel at peace – the beach. We’re actually taking a boat to a remote island, with no amenities, where we plan to spend the day doing absolutely nothing. I want to simply soak up the sunshine and feel the sand between my toes and the warm ocean water on my skin.

And I want to bring back only positive thoughts as my souvenirs.


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