Thursday, October 11, 2012

Open Drawer, Pull Out Paper, Shred

I started doing something today I never thought would happen. Oh, I have been putting it off. I really have months to do it. It can wait. But no, really, it can't.

I began the process of cleaning out my office. This office (well not exactly THIS office. I've had 3) has the accumulation of over 20 years of stuff. I'm an educator and have been most of my professional life. Educators are notorious for saving everything, copying everything, hoarding everything.

For those of you who haven't read a previous blog, I am retiring next summer after many years of working for "the man" whoever the heck he is. For the last 20 years, I've worked in adult education. It has been the single most satisfying job I've ever had. I have witnessed people's lives being turned around once they got their GED and moved on to bigger and better things.

But this isn't what this blog is about. It's about beginning the process of getting rid of stuff that has been a part of my life for 20 years. It's about shredding reports that date back to 1991. It's about shredding workshop material that is so outdated that the paper is crumbling. I have no intention of taking any of this stuff  home, no siree bobcat (as my late great mother-in-law, Evelyn Causby used to say.) I have no place for it at home. None. Nada.

I have no use for statistics from 2003, no use whatsoever. I have folder after folder of this stuff. I have reams of paper printed with all kinds of numbers depicting all kinds of stats like contact hours and level completions from years ago.

I even have hand written...yes HAND WRITTEN reports. These were created before we had computers to input information. It's ridiculous. I really can't justify why I've saved all this. Oh, in my "gotta save this" kind of thinking "because I might need it someday" mind set, I honestly thought some obscure 1992 report to the state would come in handy some day. Really??? Reallllllllllllllllllly???

I used the shredder so much today that it over heated. I haven't gotten rid of even one fourth of all the paper work from years gone by. You know what I found myself doing? Reading the activity reports I created from back in the late mid 90s to early 2000s to see how much had changed. It hadn't that much, other than the reports got longer and more detailed.

I came across names of students from years back who stuck in my brain, like Delmas Towe who used to tell me he was "fine as frog hair split three ways" when I asked him how he was. I picked up on that and use it almost daily.  He was part of the Class of 2000. They were a great group, those folks.

But this blog is not about those wonderful students. It's about me taking the initiative to let go, to realize that I don't need this stuff anymore, and gasp!! I won't ever need it. What I do need is what I did today. I started clearing out my office because in 8 months and so many days, someone else will occupy it. Someone else after 20 years will take my place. If I do this little by little maybe it won't be so daunting. I will not wait until the last minute.

Yep, the process has begun of letting go. But in the final scheme of things, it's not going to be easy. Just like I tell my students, "I never promised you it would be easy."

But it will get done because no matter what, I will not be in the office on July 1, 2013. I will be at home starting my second career, that of a lady of leisure who is a full time writer.


Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

It is so easy to collect things. We don't mean to do it, but all of a sudden that folder of papers becomes a drawer full, then a cabinet full and so on and so on.

It is good that you are doing this now, rather than later. These next nine months are going to go by quickly and there will be much to do as you pass the baton. I can tell you that you will feel many emotions this coming year as it is a major life change. I can also tell you it is wonderful not to have anxiety that a job can bring.

Coleen Brooks said...

Thanks so much for your input. I know these next few months will be different. I find myself pulling away already. I just don't want to become too complacent.

Howling Caterpillars said...

Oh yeah!! Man do I understand that feeling of I might need that some day...
My DH still has his draft card!!! So it's not just me!
And I'm pretty sure Uncle Sam's not gonna wanna draft an overweight 65 year old...

I have TONNES of paper myself to go through...budgets and schedules and notes from 3 jobs ago...

Good luck with the shredding and the retirement.

Ruby Badcoe said...

How much does your shredder cost, Colleen? I asked because most cheap paper shredders designed for home-use are simply not capable of being used for a prolonged period of time. If you want to stick with your paper shredder, I suggest that you don’t try to shred only one at a time and make sure that it's your standard bond paper. Most importantly, let the shredder rest for a few minutes after using it for a few minutes.

document shredding said...

What a great post. I’m emailing this to my friends.

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