A Life Less Organized

Allison Ellis - Seattle, Washington
Entered on August 30, 2010

I believe in disorganization. I believe in unfinished projects and unfinished sentences. I believe in messy drawers. Cluttered desktops. Stacks of books by the bed, magazines on the floor; crumbs on the counter. I believe in getting sidetracked, starting a new task (or perhaps a number of new tasks) before the last one is complete. I […]

I believe in disorganization. I believe in unfinished projects and unfinished sentences. I believe in messy drawers. Cluttered desktops. Stacks of books by the bed, magazines on the floor; crumbs on the counter. I believe in getting sidetracked, starting a new task (or perhaps a number of new tasks) before the last one is complete. I believe in extended timelines. I believe in multitasking. I believe in half-baked ideas. I believe in “winging it” and “dropping everything,” allowing myself the freedom to explore what the day might unfold and the unadulterated joy that can come from changing direction on a whim. I believe in following creative bursts of energy, spontaneous social gatherings and long stretches of solitude. I believe that life is richer without routines.

“You are the most disorganized person I know” my husband announced one evening upon examination of my dishwasher loading technique. “I mean, how do you sleep at night?” The words stung, but only for a day or two, when I finally came to realize that dishwasher loading efficiency was not on the list of things I wanted to be good at. Ever.

I suppose I’m lucky in that I married the most organized person I know; he’s as close as you can get to the definition of a neat freak. Tasks that are torturous for me – the simple chore of filing, for example – he likes to take on for fun. In his free time! I’m in awe and fully appreciative of his ability to sort, collate, categorize and classify, perhaps more so because I don’t have the aptitude myself. He’s the yin to my yang. The order to my, er, disorder. The harmony in our house doesn’t happen with one extreme and not the other.

Living a life less organized has its benefits, to be sure. There are a few drawbacks, and yes, just in case you were wondering, I am aware of them. I do know the difference between being habitually late and occasionally tardy; slapdash style and just plain sloppy; going with the flow—and circling the drain.

So much of our day-to-day lives are about getting things done and anticipating new hurdles to overcome. And while I do understand (and frequently embrace) this concept, mostly out of an altruistic desire to not torment those around me, I also spend a lot of time crafting new methods for avoiding the conventional. Let’s face it: checking things off the proverbial to-do list does not nourish my soul. So, when given the opportunity to be free of constraints, labels and deadlines, I thrive. This, I believe, is the true source of creativity. Little moments are savored which become the source of big ideas. Nature infiltrates my body and state of mind. I feel less hurried, less frantic, less anxious; more whole. When I allow myself the freedom to let things come instead of always making things happen I find joy in everything and everyone. I find the freedom to just be . . . me.