This year hasn't been a whole lot of fun in many ways. Lately things have been getting the better of me, and to be honest, I didn't have the energy to not let them. Oh, I've still been going to work and managing after a fashion, but everything else outside work has been done with low energy and handled half-arsed at best.
Trouble with that situation is, the things I let get on top of me and don't attend to are the very things that weigh me down. They contribute to me feeling low, and sad, and generally I forget how to be me. It's a stupid, self-created, self-perpetuating cycle of crap that, eventually, needs to be kicked out of gear.
I like lists. I like making a list of things I'm going to do or movies I want to see or photos I want to take and then cross the items off as I achieve them. Or not, as the case may be. I like making the list though. This last cycle of crap needed a list as most of them do; but not a list on paper - something more visible - something I would see every day but not something with the power to crush me with the pressure of it all.
I'm such a delicate bird.
Everyone loves post it notes. I know this to be true because everyone is always nicking mine. You can write on a post-it note but you can't write much. They are self limiting and bite-sized. I decided to break down all the things I needed to do into these bite-sized post-it pieces and write each on a colourful note to stick to the wall by the bathroom. This way I would see the notes every day as I passed by, but it wouldn't be staring at me continuously and taunting me with my slacktitude. It was a joyful, cheery list of little goals and tasks I could tackle one at a time. The added bonus was as I achieved each of the tasks, I could remove that post-it note and throw it away. When the wall was empty, the things I wasn't managing to achieve at the moment would be done and gone.
Now I'm not talking about big achievements like learning to play the piano or running a marathon. I mean tiny achievements such as doing laundry, creating a PDF of a business card for the printer, returning library books - that kind of thing. Michelle's-life-is-freying-at-the-edges kinds of things.
All geared up with a clutch of post-it note pads in assorted colours and a black Sharpie, I started writing and sticking my "to do" list on the wall. By the time I was done I had a jaunty, bright, very achieveable wall of post-it note tasks. And, as one of the tasks was to write a list of tasks, I could remove straight away! I was loving this idea.
I went to bed a happy little camper, and slept the sleep of the organised.
When I woke the next morning, I didn't instantly remember my list stuck to the wall of my hall. In fact, I didn't even see it as I passed to grab breakfast from the kitchen. But I did see some of it when I looked down to see what had stuck to my foot on my way to the kitchen - a lime green post-it note with "Farmers' Business Card PDF" scrawled on it. I looked back, and there, all over the floor, were all my post-it notes.
My beautiful, jaunty, merry list of tasks. The damn things had fallen off my wall over night. God dammit - when did post-it notes get so unsticky? They used to be stickier than this, didn't they? or were they always this crap? who invented this crap anyway?
I did what anyone does when they want to know stuff, I phoned my sister Jo to ask. Her line was engaged because she's still on Dialup. So I turned to my computer and I Googled. And it seems my problem wasn't the notes so much as the wall, and the fact it was vertical. Funny thing about walls is, generally, they tend to be vertical if they're doing their job properly. Seems during the 1960s, a man at a company called 3M accidently invented a not-very-sticky adhesive made up of tiny, indestructible acrylic spheres - no, not luminous spheres, acrylic spheres. They would stick stuff to stuff so long as the stuff the stuff was being stuck to was on a tangent (see my problem re: Properties of Walls mentioned earlier). This man's name was Spencer Silver.
Spence figured he was onto a winner although not entirely sure how to use his tiny, indestructible acrylic spheres of stick (but not too sticky) he went about the place telling everyone about them. Anyone and everyone - informally and formallly, in seminars, everywhere. God can you imagine how boring this guy must have been? You know the type: crazy, passionate person with a whole lot of sticky acrylic spheres he doesn't quite know what to do with and not a leaning wall in sight.
5 years he talked about his spheres. I can only imagine the lengths people went to avoid this dude.
Meanwhile, Arthur L. Fry was in church singing all the wrong hymns. He had been cornered on more than one occasion by the sphere-talking sticky Spencer Silver, and while not exactly driven to church, one must admit - it was a grat place to hide. But religion isn't as glamorous as it looks and soon Arthur realised the bits of paper he used to mark songs in his hymnal kept falling out all over the floor (not unlike my list of post-it notes but that's by-the-by) and it was annoying him a lot. Not to mention everyone else who were singing one song and Arthur, bless him, who was always on the wrong page.
The story goes that during one particularly boring sermon (there's any other kind?) Arthur was thinking about his hymnal bookmark problem (as you do) and he remembered Spence Silver's tiny sticky spheres (as you might). And suddenly (cue angelic music) everything came together in a simple, beautiful idea. When Arthur got to work on Monday, he wrote up his idea to make paper sticky, but not too sticky, as a proposal. Although the company both he and Spence worked for, 3M, worried post-it notes seemed wasteful, his colleagues couldn't get enough of the post-it prototypes (of course not, they keep falling off stuff) .
By 1980 Post-it Notes were introduced to the world by 3M and we've been pulling them off our bare feet ever since.
I am able to remove the Post-it Note "put thejamjar.com back online" from the floor. Thank you for your patience.