I need to finish paginating (appropriating pages of content) a 56-page magazine for a client today. Our senior art director declared he won’t design another page without knowing what he’s got to work with. He’s dual-designed every page he’s touched as both left- and right-facing because I haven’t done what I need to do. Yesterday an estate resolution company J. hired cleared his dad’s home in the space of three hours of every possession he didn’t gift to his family and that didn’t move with him to a new apartment. Nearly sixty years of memories in one home in accumulated belongings moved to three final buckets: sell, donate, discard.
My mind is on the new year, and what I’ll do differently, and that swings me around to the pages of that magazine waiting to be intentionally filled and J.’s family home resolutely emptied. I’m not fond of “I am” identity pronouncements. I’m a child of God, and that’s got enough bandwidth to challenge my thoughts and actions for a lifetime. But I am a strategist, writer and editor by profession, and if I’m being honest, I know I am an editor up and down and through and through every part of my life. I love living a curated life and that means more to me than what possessions to keep and use in a 2300-square-foot, sixth-floor condominium.
Remember Runaway Bride, the scene where Maggie (Julia Roberts) is challenged to know—own—how she likes her eggs? I want to pursue that kind of certainty in how I spend my time. For starters, if the books I read and the people I meet will change me this year, I’m making a mess of what I download to my kindle and we’ve been way too isolated this year for meaningful relationship. If everything I do and everything we own will one day meet the aforementioned fate (I can tell you on good authority our kids don’t want the stacks of art or leftover furniture tucked into our remaining storage unit), what can I curate today to make life’s moments more significant?
It’s a lot of fun to curate one’s life and the delights of our hearts. I know a London Fog is my beverage of choice, interior design and gardening books inspire me, disorder and dust depress me, and I’d do anyone’s laundry any day because clean clothes give me immense satisfaction. I know rescuing a Poshie after she was rejected for not being a purebred Pomeranian led to a fast reach for the “sell” bucket; today she is a treasure from which I would not easily part. I know I am fiercely proud of my mother for her ability to create beauty from everything she touches. I know the bottomless eyes of the sad, dusty, likely homeless elderly man on a bus are the most beautiful thing I saw last year. How I would have loved to curate his story.
I’m aware that today, from every window of our treehouse, I see new-fallen snow and a thousand possibilities for this new year. Tomorrow, I’ll be a tangled mess in the space of a few challenges. I have a choice to make about what I will sell, donate and discard—and what I will gift—from this life that is mine for a short time.