Kinda Kondo-ing

You wanna fly, you got to give up the thing that weighs you down.
~Toni Morrison

So, I haven’t really bought into the whole Marie Kondo thing – you know, giving away or otherwise divesting yourself of things that do not bring you joy. And yet, more and more, I find myself implementing at least parts of the process (or, quite honestly, what I’ve read about the process… which does not include, um, the book itself…).

For the last couple of years, I have tried to get rid of more than I bring in. I have donated countless items of clothing, linens (towels, sheets, etc.), kitchen items (nearly a whole set of pots and pans that I simply was not using), and so on. I’ve taken so many books to the half price bookstore – where sometimes I get a few dollars for bringing them, but it’s really more about getting them out of my apartment.

This weekend, I sold my digital piano. 

It’s not that playing the piano does not bring me joy. It does, and always has. But the piano itself, at this stage in my life, was not bringing me joy. Instead, it sat, neglected, in my small bedroom, a source of guilt that I was focusing on other things right now and not playing it as much as I wanted. I don’t even know if I have played it since I moved into this apartment. I honestly don’t remember. 
I wanted to sell that, and I still want to sell a recliner that is, simply, the least comfortable chair (for ME!) that I have ever owned. It was more my spouse’s chair, and well, we don’t live together. I also dislike the print and the color and the fact that it has wooden arms that get dusty. (Can you tell that the recliner is, um, not my favorite piece of furniture? :>) 
Anyway, I happened to mention in a meeting at work that I really wanted to sell this piano, and a colleague jumped on it. She and her wife have a young child (nearly 3, I believe) and they have another on the way. She plays the piano and loves it, and wants her children to play it as well. The price was right, she convinced her wife that this was a good purchase, and in 10 minutes on Saturday, she and her friends moved the piano and its accessories out of my apartment. 
It was, briefly, a sad moment for me. And then I was so, so happy. I gave her the books I had that weren’t either truly sentimental (2 of them, both from musicals in high school) or in horrid shape or, honestly, embarrassing (um, Red Hot Hits from 1987?). And she texted me later that night that she was already playing one of the books and loved it. And I smiled. And went happily to sleep.
My parents, who save everything, do not understand this. For me, I feel lighter, happier, and more content in my space and my life. And to me, that’s invaluable. 

Things I am loving Friday

There are a few bloggers I follow who post what they love / are grateful for on Fridays. And I always think, what a lovely way to look back on the week and seek out the good. So I’m going to try it today… trying to go into the day with a good attitude (despite the potential for a really, really long meeting this afternoon… :>)

  • Wearing jeans to work. I love academia. 
  • And sneakers. 
  • Getting a guest presentation outlined yesterday that had been bugging me for weeks. 
  • AND getting a conference presentation outlined, too… I also put more into that (in terms of content) than originally intended, so that’s a double win. 
  • Sunshine. We’ve had more this week than I think we had in all of January. 
  • A good run this morning. I love feeling good on a run (because really, who wouldn’t?) and it’s such an awesome way to start the day. 
  • Emails from my parents. 
  • The ability to walk without pain. So underrated until you don’t have it anymore. 
  • Dreaming about travel (Prince Edward Island, Ireland [next year – finally!!!], and many other dream places)
  • And recipes I want to try (hey, it’s winter! And I finally found a willing taste tester – a college student who is an athlete. Perfect!)
  • Getting to see my parents in March 💗
A good week. A really good week. 


I am fabulous at fretting.

I actually looked up the definitions of the word, and it’s fascinating how its use in science is akin to its use in describing peoples’ actions or behaviors…

“to wear away or consume by gnawing” (

Wow. What an apt description. And I am a champion fretter. Seriously. There are nights when I wake up and cannot get back to sleep because my mind is turning the same (usually small) worry over and and over. Perseverating about it. (Another word I love, that Chrome spellchecker does not seem to. That’s okay – it didn’t like colonoscopy until recently, either…) 
Anyway. I can’t quite figure out how to break this cycle. It’s like once I hit on something that I can worry or fret about – usually for way too long – I just come back to it over and over and over again.
Sometimes distraction works. Other times, my mind returns to that same worry whenever I take a break from whatever else I am working on. 
It honestly drives me bonkers – and I wish I could change it. The best part, of course, is that my worries are usually completely unfounded. Like this weekend, when I was worried that I had not heard back from a colleague about a piano that she was hoping to buy from me. I worried that I had inadvertently insulted her during an in-person exchange a few weeks ago. Turns out, she was just figuring out with her wife how they could make room for said piano. All that worry, for nothing. That’s how it usually turns out. Sometimes, of course, my concerns are borne out. But for the most part, nothing ever comes of my (sometimes hours of) fretting. 
Just another habit to break or work on. I should be grateful that I can (?) focus on these relatively small worries. I don’t have many BIG things weighing on me right now. I know it’s part of how I am wired – so I suppose the alternative to changing it is learning to accept it and perhaps shut it down sooner. Hm. Another topic for therapy day, I suppose! Onward. 

Walking to the top

Before you dream about the view from the summit, ask yourself if you’re willing to keep your head down, focus on the path, and spend your life walking up the side of a very big hill.
It takes years of walking to earn a minute at the top.
~ James Clear

This quote helped me reflect on my current work life, and my frustration with my inability to get funding for my research. Something about the argument I am making in my grant proposals is not resonating with the people who review them – and those who then make the funding decisions. 
I know that it’s a process. 
I know there will be hurdles along the way. 
But my goodness, sometimes I see the ways in which I have inadvertently sabotaged myself, and I want to time-travel back to that version of me, and talk some sense into her! 
I cleaned out my office over the weekend, which was a wonderful accomplishment. I hadn’t managed to do so over break, as things were more chaotic than anticipated. But I shredded an entire file box of papers, recycled many more, and returned many, many office supplies to the shared cabinet. 
Those files I shredded? From a study I got money for, conducted, and then ultimately only got two publications out of. I could have done SO MUCH MORE if I had simply put my head down, focused on the path, and walked up the side of that very big hill. 
Instead? I became overwhelmed, and paralyzed, and had to spend more time than I anticipated working on my teaching. 
I also spent more time than I should have driving 3 hours one-way most weekends, as I was working in a town where we did not, technically, live (although I was there more than I was “home” most months…). 
I know that I should give that version of me grace, and that there were many, many other things going on. But my goodness. I also wish that I could have done it differently… 
Which I think is what’s fueling my determination to do better this time. I got a second chance, in a new place, with new people, and (if you ask me) better ideas. Now I just have to put in the work to make it happen, however I can.