Thursday, January 1, 2015

Inventory - Word of the Year for 2015

Rather than resolutions, a lot of people, some bloggers, some not, choose to pick a specific word to focus on for the upcoming year. For 2015, mine is inventory.

Are you saying, oookay, and scratching your head? Because most folks choose words like inspiration and fitness and hope and change and crap like that.

Inventory-Control-Q-IC da
Inventory-Control-Q-IC da (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Taking Inventory is something I had to do regularly, in various jobs. (Hello, working in food & beverage!) But I never thought of applying it to my personal life, until my friend Tony Faggioli (a terrific writer, btw, he's going to be on a bestseller shelf near you someday soon) used it in one of his novels.

Tony's detective hero, Napoleon, is faced with an antagonist who is taller and bigger (and, possibly, demonic, but that's another discussion). Outmatched, right? But before plunging in, blindly, and hoping for a miracle, Napoleon "takes an inventory" of the skills and advantages he does have, before engaging. And (spoiler alert!) he is able to overcome the bad guy (without using his gun).

So I kind of fell in love with the idea of taking inventory of my life, both on a broad scale, and on a daily, in the moment scale.

What's overstocked in my life ?

What steps can I take to reduce the overstock that's creating problems - too many books or clutter or possessions? Too many demands on my time, too many friends or lovers? (Not currently a problem, but that could change.)

Hoarding in an apartment, via Wikimedia

Guilty Indulgence: I used to watch a reality show called Wife Swap. One week a woman was on there who was a little over-the-top, IMO (of course, that's why they pick 'em). She  was so anal about organizing, she wore a label gun in a holster on her belt.

But her tip stuck with me: When deciding whether or not to keep something, ask yourself these three questions:

  • Do I love it? (like that weird ashtray your kid made for you in shop)
  • Do I need it? (like your toothbrush)
  • Does it make me money? (like research books)

And if you can't answer yes to at least one of those questions, the thing - whether it's an ugly painting your dead aunt gave you that you've been hiding in the closet forever, or that set of weights you haven't used in five years - needs to go away, to make room for things that you do love, or need, or that make you money.

In terms of people, Dr. Phil uses the expression, contributing to, or contaminating, when evaluating actions in personal relationships.  And if someone is your life is a constant buzzkill or or time-suck...

Friends and lovers who aren't adding to your life, but only to your sense of obligation and/or guilt, even family members... Perhaps it's time to either cut them loose, or, at to see less of them.

What's missing on my "shelves"? 

via Wikimedia

I figured out I needed more mens in my life, so I joined OKCupid, and some chat groups, and have found out that, lucky me, living in L.A., there are lots of mens all around me. Some of them don't appeal to me, and some of them aren't interested in me, and some who do appeal at first click turn out to be totally douchey. But some of them are a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to filling my, uhm,  man shelves, in 2015. Deeply and completely and with lots of variety.

And I realized, I also needed more girl-gossip, specifically about this whole exciting world of dating. So I created a secret, safe place to make it happen (send me a message on FB if you're female-identifying, and want in) and I am having sooo much fun with it, and the terrific women from so many areas of my life, from high school friends to poly friends and blogger friends, and author friends and other members of Sex Positive Los Angeles.

I needed somebody who was happy to see me every day when I came home from work, too, and now I have Motivation and Creativity, aka Mojo and Tivvy.

Creativity & Motivation

But getting back to our detective, Napoleon, and some of the exercises I've learned in Sex Positive Los Angeles. If somebody asks me for a hug, and I'm not sure I want one, or maybe I do want one, but not from this person, I am not obligated to allow him or her to hug me. It's okay healthy to stop, take inventory of how I am feeling, before I say, "No, thank you." Or if I would like it, I can give a big "Hell, yes!" a big smile, and a big hug.

(Hugs, from men or women, are awesome, just saying.)

Life Can Offer Us a Smorgasbord - But Do We Want That Thing?

I grew up in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. And going to smorgasbord was like heaven, even for a normally picky eater like me.  Oh, so many, many tasty things from which to choose!

But, there's an analogy used by Clarissa Pinkola Estes in her Running with the Wolves audioseries that resonates deeply with me.

You see, we often make our choices, based on what's in front of us. What catches our eye, what is right in front of us, that we suddenly crave?

via PinayMedia Planner

We might look at a smorgasbord and think, ooh, yes! I would like a croissant roll with some honey butter on it, please, or perhaps some of those yummy sausages.

That choice is based on snatching from what's displayed in front of us. Because there is is, and it looks so tasty! It's not bad; it's a human thing, and we all do it, all the time. (Or, a feline thing: It's a box, and I must jump into it!)

But what if, instead, we took inventory? What if we asked, "What am I really hungry for?" Maybe, when it comes to food, we might be really hungry for celery with peanut butter in it. And probably, that is not on that table.

And so our first task is to take inventory, and our second task, to figure out how to fill our shelves not just by choosing from whatever is in front of us, but from evaluating what we are truly hungry for, and figuring out a way to fill that need.

Joining in both the Fabulous Friends of Chloe bloghop, and the SoCal Lady Bloggers Bloghop.

Your thoughts?