On Being Organized

Really what this blog is showing me is that maybe I should start a section that is all about Oprah Magazine and the articles that inspire me.

Okay, I kid, but honestly, not a month goes by where I don’t ear mark my Oprah Mag or share links to articles that I find inspiring.  I should also note that one of the thoughts running through my brain is how will I read my O Mag while in Japan?!  I realize I’m jumping way ahead of the plan here and a magazine subscriptions should not be my most important detail right now, but it is.

Any who, I’m sharing an article from the March issue of O Magazine. The whole issue is about decluttering, living with or without stuff, home design and the whole concept of chaos.  I really wish that I could share every article with you, but the reality is I’m only going to share one. (You should go get your own copy of the magazine, or go online!)

The article appropriately titled, ” Chaos Theory,” by Heather Havrilesky has a tagline that reads, “Why a complicated, messy life may not need a clean sweep.”  Exactly what I needed to read. As a matter of fact, as soon as I read that, I dove head first into this article. My favorite paragraph states,

“But I known the answer to that: I am not and was never going to be the relaxed, organized, manicured career mom, any more than I was going to be the shiny, effusive cheerleader or the diligent Gap employee or the virginal good girl or the wise young lady who dates only responsible, emotionally available guys. I am a disorganized, melancholy second-guesser who rhapsodizes a little too loudly over the pleasures of a cold beer at the end of a long day. I am enthusiastic, yes, and passionate, sure, but I’m also fundamentally ambivalent, angst ridden, and conflicted. I am distracted, overwhelmed, and mostly unprepared for whatever lies ahead.”

Now, just for clarification purposes, I am an optimist. Even in my most pessimistic moments, I am an optimist. I always remember that I have to make my own destiny even when fate trips me, forces me to see something a bit different, or more importantly, throws a bucket of ice water on my head.  What I love is how boldly she states that she’s fundamentally ambivalent, angst ridden and conflicted, distracted, overwhelmed and mostly unprepared. Why? Because I’m always distracted, overwhelmed, conflicted, angst ridden and mostly unprepared!

I may not be a mother, but as an entrepreneur and a multitasker, I know exactly what she’s talking about (S2 Stationery and Design is pretty much my baby). I easily get overwhelmed (have you seen me stare at a restaurant menu that has too many options? Sometimes even six options is one too many!), distracted (facebook is the devil! C’mon, I have to blame something!), angst ridden (I have walking rage.), conflicted (should I really give up what I know right now for what I could/will learn then?), ambivalent (“But, I’ve known that person for a really long time!”), and finally, mostly unprepared (you should see my mornings!). The worst part about these feelings is that I feel guilty, or bad for having felt/experienced any of these. In most cases, I’ve experienced all of them within a single day.

Now, the readers that know me, may be disagreeing. They may say, “No, I know that Sara and she can make a decision. And when she does, it’s made.”  As a matter of fact, I have had many friends tell me that when I make my mind up and say I’m going to do something, they know I’m going to do it. Which is great! I’m a doer, hooray! But what people, friends included, don’t know is that at the same time, I often battle myself for a bit until I make that final decision. And then there is no going back.

For example, in the morning of New Year’s Day 2009, I jumped in the Atlantic Ocean with my running coach and two other runners. Don’t ask why, just know that my coach sent an email out asking if we wanted to participate and I sent an email back saying yes. I was excited, a bit on the fence, but definitely excited. It was something I had never done before!

That morning I learned that I’ve got balls! Mostly because that morning was F-R-E-E-Z-I-N-G! The wind chill was ridiculous and after I got out of the ocean, my feet were freezing and it was painful to walk to the bathroom to get dressed (it took my feet two hours and a plate of bacon to regain feeling again). Yet, I made up my mind to do this and as soon as we got to the beach, there was no turning back. As I walked closer to the water, clothes came off. I knew that if I waited to get to the edge to disrobe, I could potentially chicken out. Why, you may wonder? Simply because every thing as we got closer to the ocean was colder.  Then without the aid of glasses, I walked in and dunked myself into the freezing Atlantic. I stayed in for about 6-8 minutes total. Crazy. I know. And yet, one of the best and most exhilarating things I’ve ever done.

When I look back to that moment, I had no idea what 2009 had in store for me. The cold water was more than just symbolism of a new year cleansing and my fearless approach to life (moving into the future), it was also a sign that I would be reborn.  My dad died 54 days later. 26 days later I went to Italy, the country of my passion, completed my second marathon and dreamt up S2 Stationery and Design.

That moment was full of chaos. Actually chaos was my best friend. It was my friend through out the rest of that year. It is still my friend now.  Chaos is like my right hand. It’s the oversized bag with the Etsy logo on it that I carry every day full to the brim of projects that I won’t touch during the day that I sit at my daytime work desk. Chaos is helping me write this blog right now. Chaos is the person that sees me going to a free Jerky event with a good friend rather than sitting at my favorite coffee shop doing work. Chaos is right there with me when my laundry piles up and dust settles on the window sill and shelves. Chaos is all around me. Heck it’s around all of us and oddly enough, I find comfort in her. Even when I’m fuming because I’m running late, or trying to figure out how to squeeze a few more hours of my day, I know that I’m doing my thing.

And that’s the thing…my chaos may not be your cup of team, but I’m sure you have your own kind of chaos. I probably wouldn’t be able to understand your chaos either. Yet, we continue on. You, with yours, and me, with mine.

I realize that this is a bit long, but what I’m getting at is that after weeks of reading lots of articles (all by women I love!) about needing to be organized in order to really make money and be successful, I can’t thank Heather enough for her article. FINALLY, someone gets me!  She’s not judging me (not that any of the other ladies are), because she’s too busy trying to accept her own chaotic life. I love all the advice out there for new entrepreneurs, I really do, but I’m never going to be organized the way they are.

Believe me, I wish I could control the small details, but you know what, I know where things are and where I want to go, which is the biggest and most important aspect of any goal. One day, when I’m not living in the same room that I’m making my products, I’ll be a bit more organized, although to be honest, I’ve already got bins for specific things, I’ve also just got piles, too. For now, I am going to leave the guilt at the door, or rather in the email that I opened that says, “you’re not making/losing sales/potential business/readers because you’re not doing ‘X’.”  The reality is I’m doing my best. This gal with her stationery business is doing her best and two years in she’s not only organizing her business, she’s living/experiencing her life and her job, and her feelings and her fear (yes, she does still have a bit of that emotion) and the fact that with 30 comes a whole lot of changes. In other words, a lot.

So thank you Heather and O Magazine for allowing me to finally not feel bad for not being “perfect.” Sigh. Now, I think I can get back to the business of designing…

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s2 stationery & designs

A rule-breaking designer, artist & entrepreneur who's passionate about paper and handcrafting stationery. I also write, travel, and focus on eco + social good.

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