Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Let Your Suitcase Be Your Guide

I admit it. I am the reason why my family is late to any event, church, party or gathering. Even if I start the process of getting ready 4 hours ahead of the time I still cannot get ready within the alloted time frame.  I don’t know if it’s hereditary or adult attention deficit disorder (AADD). The problem is I get sidetracked and start doing other things such as refolding my t-shirts as I go through my closet or notice the bathroom sink is dirty and I start cleaning it. I just can't seem to stay focused. 

I really am not the kind of person who likes to lay blame on someone or something but my continual lateness is really rude and I hate being rude so I'm trying to find the fault somewhere else instead of me. 
As long  as I can remember my parents have always been late. Perhaps I picked up this bad habit from my parents and it's rooted into me. It’s become their trademark amongst friends and family. In the Filipino community everyone is late. Time has a different meaning. When we are invited to a Filipino party, “I ask is this American time or Filipino time?”  American time means the time stated is correct and you better be there on time. If it’s Filipino time, then the hostess has given an earlier time than the actual time of the party because she knows the invitees will be late and she really wants the party to start 30 minutes to an hour after the time. So even in the Filipino community where everyone is late, my parents are REALLY late which means they are 2-3 hours late. 

So my constant lateness could be in my DNA and I just can't help myself because I've inherited the "late" gene. 
But the source of my trouble could be Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.
My doctor did not diagnosis me… my husband did.  About a year ago our son was diagnosed with autism and ADHD.  So naturally we read articles to gain knowledge and to get advice. After reading articles on ADHD my husband said to me, “I think you have ADD.” 
Of course, I was in denial. I said, "No, I don't."
He said, “I left an article for you to read in the bathroom.”  

Curious I looked in the bathroom and it was an article on adult ADD. 
After reading the article I said to myself, “Okay,it looks like I have AADD. I have many of the symptoms described in the articles such as having many unfinished projects. I’m not going to a doctor to waste money and to get tested to be officially labeled. I refuse to go on drugs. I will just do the best I can.”  

It's true that admitting the problem is the first step.
It made me realize that I do silly stuff while getting dressed. An example is looking for jewelry to match my outfit and instead of moving onto the next step I find myself organizing my jewelry armoire. But now that I am aware that this is contributing to my lateness I can check myself and force myself to go back to getting dressed. 
Another contributing factor to why I am late is that I never like the image that is reflected in the mirror. This leads to the dreaded I-have-nothing-to-wear dilemma and when-will-I really-stick-to-a-diet? question.  It is a vicious and ugly cycle.  Putting on clothes, sighing with disgust, trying a different outfit, hating my fat. During the whole time berating I'm myself for being overweight and I forget to look at the clock.
But just last week I had a huge revelation on a family trip to The Villages at Silverleaf Resorts in Tyler, Tx. We were scammed into one of those time-share meetings. We were told The Villages was a place similar to Great Wolf Lodge which is an amazing, plush hotel with an indoor water park and a sky-high rate to match its grandeur. All we had to do was attend the 2-hour meeting to be able to enjoy the place. Of course it ended up being a big scam because we were placed in a old motel and only allowed to swim at the water park after a 6-hour sales pitch. In order to stay on the grounds we had to sign up with the time share. But the kicker was that it wasn't even a hotel. It was a bunch of log cabins. Doh! Similar to the Great Wolf Lodge, my butt. There was nothing plush and relaxing about the place. The water park was also half the size of GWL's water park. We let our boys swim for a few hours and went out to eat. We didn't even stay another night in the motel. What a waste of time and money.

But, I digress. Back to my burning life-changing revelation. During our whole time there I was surprised I was always ready to go and we were not late. I realized there’s nothing like living out of a suitcase to make you realize how much stuff you really DON’T need.  It was simple living.  I had to wear the clothes and jewelry I brought. I didn’t waste time trying on 3-4 different outfits. And there was nothing to distract me like organizing my jewelry or cleaning the sink.
It was so clear to me:  I must learn to simplify my life as if I were living out of a suitcase. 
I don’t need a ton of clothing, shoes, nor jewelry.  I don’t need all the other things like special lotions, soaps, house d├ęcor, art supplies, etc.  I should just live a clean and simple life. If I had less stuff it would be easier to clean and there would be less decisions. I decided to donate 50% of my clothes and to stop shopping.

pic from Travelphant.com
But as human nature goes, the joy of this revelation is slipping away from me.  I am back at home. As I look around my house trying to decide what to donate I realize that there are pieces that hold memories and I can't relinquish them. Plus, I don’t have housekeeping like the hotels. While on a trip I'm not bothered to clean the sink because I know a maid will do it. But at home I am the maid so I am tempted to clean because I figured I started getting ready extra early therefore I have some extra time to clean.

As I go through my closet trying to decide what to donate I start thinking I would be so bored if I wore the same clothes over and over! And I love my clothes just like Carrie Bradshaw. The 50% I was so gung-ho to donate has dropped down to 5%.

Although I absolutely love the idea of living life as simply as living out of a suitcase it is not a possibility for me. Even though I know reducing my belongings would help tremendously in my quest to no longer be tardy I just can't do it yet. I'm hoping that one day I will achieve the zen state and actually give 50% of my belongings away and be free of it all. I will try to hold onto the feeling I had when the revelation came that living out of a suitcase is liberating. I will try to let my suitcase be my guide. But in the meantime, the size of my suitcase will have to be several steam trunks. 

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