I am surrounded by clutter, physical and mental. I'm not a pack rat, but I do have the collector's impulse to acquire particular things: books, mostly, and also model horses. Books and horses for the most part sit neatly on shelves. But because I'm a visual person--I need to keep items related to particular tasks in sight in order to keep them in mind--things accumulate around me: sticky notes (virtual ones on my Mac desktop as well as paper notes), pens, bills, papers from projects on which I'm working, assorted baby paraphernalia. The physical clutter reflects the mental clutter, all those barely begun, half-finished, and perpetually unfinished projects. My environment is a museum showcasing all the things I've wanted to accomplish but never have.
That sounds sad, I know, but it needn't be. My thoughts, and therefore my life, proceed not linearly, but in associative leaps. I shed the clutter of my life periodically, and move on to the next thing, and it's a hopeful, cleansing process. I'm at one of those moments right now as I apply for jobs for next fall, struggle to finish my dissertation, and learn how to raise a son.
Having a baby has put things in perspective. While I'm learning to put together a book-length work and better define myself as a scholar, Lucas is learning how to smile:
In the face of that face, everything else suddenly seems less urgent.