August 31, 2015

Exhaustion is Not an Illusion

                                            This post is for caregivers as well as stroke survivors
People who have not experienced a catastrophe think they have lots of time to do what they want.  They also think they will always have lots of energy.  A stroke destroyed the illusion that I have time and energy to waste.  I cannot waste precious energy searching my entire house for an object.  For me, organization is a way to save time and energy rather than a perfectionist's goal that drives me crazy.   

Here are some examples of when I can get away with being disorganized.  I do not mind spending a few minutes searching through a box of Christmas decorations or looking for a hand tool in a small tool box.  I keep certain foods in the door of the refrigerator, but I do not mind if they slide around to different positions.  I have very few music CDs so I keep them in two shoe boxes - one for classical and one for everything else.  I do not buy much canned food so it would not be worth it to turn all the cans so every label faces the same direction. 

However, it is good to be super-organized when I own hundreds of things.  I am meticulous about saving computer files in separate folders like Finances and Photos so it is easy to retrieve a specific file.  I used to own at least a hundred fiction books.  To find books in my library, I alphabetized books by author.  To stop buying extra copies of a book when I went shopping,
I carried a folded sheet of book titles organized by author in my purse.  When I froze lots of vegetables and meat in an upright freezer, my food was meticulously organized so I did not
have to move lots of packages to find the one I wanted. 

Bottom Line: For me organization is a choice rather than a compulsion that makes me feel guilty.


  1. I live in a prety chaotic household and you are so right it is exhausting!!!

    I am going to need to work on making people in my home understand.. it is all about the energy. not really about having or not having the stuff around.
    I love your line.. "A stroke destroyed the illusion that I have time and energy to waste."

  2. I'm a disorganized organized mess. I know the vicinity of what I want when I want it... it's in this or that pile or shelf. It drives me nuts if I can't find when my children come over to help poor, old mom out like they did this weekend. I spent four hours looking for the pieces of my crockpot to cook dinner! Then I was too exhausted to cook.

    My computer files are broken down into major categories and subcategories so I can find stuff I want with ease, but I started doing that before my stroke because I had various WIPs, Editing (mine and other authors), video productions, etc. I would have ten books of mine in various stages of completion, plus other authors, and collaborations at work at the same time.

    For example you use "Finances." Under finances folder I would have "Income" as a major heading inside that folder. In the income folder there would be subcategories for "Ministry," "Royalties," "Consultation," "Husband" and "other." That way if I wanted to pull up my statements from any given job I could find that information quickly like how many marriages I performed in a certain month. Even my photos are categorized.

    I tend to group like objects together, but that's as far as my organization goes.

  3. This post is for me.....I am a reformed OCD neat freak. My former self would die to see how "lazy" I have become. It's not really lazy, its more a better understanding that that stuff is not important. I don't have the time or energy to maintain my former ways. I am still organized, when its important, but I am no longer obsessive about it. That's one of the good lessons for me! Some good did come from all the trauma!

  4. As we age, my Dear Husband and I come into conflict more and more. The intersection of his breathing challenges (which often lead to a softer voice) and my hearing challenges ... our mutual difficulties of memory ... and, just lately, the conflict of one of us being 'tired' and the other one liking organization.

    This morning we pulled a box out of the storage locker (of course it was on the bottom, so we moved half a dozen bigger boxes to get to it; took an hour). We brought the box home and emptied it, preparing to take a trip with the camping gear it contained. But then ... what to do with the box for the next two weeks? He proposed to put it in a different closet. But that leaves me with two conflicting memories of 'where it is' ... and diminishing likelihood that I'll find it when we return from our trip and want to put everything away again.

    We probably have a conversation like that once or twice a day lately. There must be a cure, mustn't there? At least, though, our situation makes clear the attraction of a younger spouse ... someone with energy and memory when I have so little.