I have a guilty confession to make…despite the fact that I am an animal lover, and a believer in humane treatment for our furry friends, my husband and I used to partake of the pleasures of…(gulp)  watching professional bull-riding.  It was just so…sort of primal, and those guys got their arses kicked all over the ring.  There was always one guy that got clocked in the head and flopped around on the bull’s back like a rag doll and yet managed to hang on for the allotted 8 seconds, only to stumble from the ring with a dazed but victorious expression on his face.

Point?

Yes, there is one.  My point is that for me, autumn feels a lot like that bull, and by the end of the holidays, I feel like that poor, dazed, possibly concussed cowboy:  shaky, completely out of it, and not quite sure how I survived.

There is scarcely a day that goes by where I don’t live with this awful, disquieting feeling that I am forgetting something, and letting someone down in some terrible way that I will never be able to make amends for.

It’s no way to live.  There is a permanent knot in my stomach.

And so I have decided today, on a New Year’s Resolution for 2013 that will also be an early Christmas gift to myself.  I have to simplify my life.  Like, MAJORLY.

Of course, this undertaking sounds way easier than it is.  There is thinking to be done beforehand, and some organizing, and processes to be streamlined…*sigh*.  See how I complicate the process of simplifying?  So you can see what a challenge this is going to be.

But still.  I take comfort from routine.  I think that most of us do.  This is not to say a deeply entrenched, unyielding, wagon-wheel rut in the mud routine.

No, I’m talking more about a set of gently yielding, evolving-as-necessary, guidelines to my life.

One wouldn’t think at this stage of life…approximately at its midpoint…that I would need to give myself a routine, but based on how wildly chaotic and out-of-control my life feels, it’s obvious that I need one!  (The irony of that statement is that a friend recently told me she was in awe of how much I manage to get accomplished.  It’s all a matter of perspective, people.   My rickety, hair-raising roller-coaster ride of a life apparently seems to be smooth and well-oiled to the outsider.  Kudos to me for the deception of the century!)

So as I type this on my laptop next to a teetering stack of papers to be signed and filed and sorted and disposed of, I wonder…just how am I going to do this?  It’s all well and good to set a goal for yourself, but without more concrete, achievable milestones on the way to that goal, let’s face it:  it ain’t happening.

It’s like looking in the mirror at your extra pounds and saying “I want to lose weight!” without giving yourself a number, a timetable, or having a diet or exercise program in mind.

A year later, when you’re looking at those extra pounds and their plus-ones, you’d better get serious about HAVING A PLAN.

So my first plan involves the never-ending flow of paper that comes from the kids’ backpacks every day.  Much as organizing books and experts always tout, I plan on touching every paper just once.  If it needs to be signed and returned, I will sign and return it.  If it has a date I need to remember, I will write the date on the calendar and clip the paper to the corkboard (if there is other pertinent information) OR dispose of it once the date is written.  In my new, simpler, more organized world, there is never any need to put off until tomorrow what I can do right now.

Once I get a handle on that, there will be other plans – oh yes, there will!  I’m thinking about housework and household chores, as well as meal plans…I can’t say that I relish the idea of this undertaking, but I do relish the idea of the end result, which will be, hopefully, a life under control.  A life where, when I need something, I know where to find it.  If it’s Tuesday, the garbage is by the curb.  And I never have the sinking feeling I’ve forgotten something again…at least, nothing more major than whether or not I’ve turned out a light at home!

Wish me well in my endeavor, and let me know if you have any great tips to share!

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