Today, to make room for a new, lighted shelf I'm building to sprout seedlings for my garden, I took on a task I've been postponing for a long time— reorganizing my basement storage shelves.
I've been telling myself to do it for almost a year now. And for almost a year now, I've been telling myself I didn't want to do it because it would be tedious, because it would be time-consuming, because there could be spiders lurking, because I'm allergic to dust.
Because I needed to rake the sweetgum balls out of yard, or clean the oven, or paint the bathroom, or dig a new garden plot in the front yard instead.
But today, as I broke down old appliance boxes to recycle, and rearranged storage bins, and vacuumed up dust, and cobwebs, and even a spider or two, I remembered the real reasons why I didn't want to do it.
I didn't want to do it because I didn't want to see that big bin of fabric, full of sewing projects I started but never finished, silent monument to a habit of failing to finish things.
I didn't want to do it because I didn't want to see the moving boxes from our move to this house two years ago— every single box saved, folded neatly, stacked in organized by size and shape, ready and waiting to be used again. Because in 28 years, I've lived in 22 different houses and apartments, and the boxes stand testament to the fact that I am incapable of not expecting to have to move. Because who knows when the airport will seize my family's home or my parents will divorce or my mother will lose her job or the landlord will sell out from under us or my Dad's girlfriend will find out he's cheating or the ceiling will cave in or my bi-polar roommate will stop paying rent and start having loud sex with my ex-boyfriend in the next room or my (now very EX) fiance will fail pre-med the same year I graduate and slowly turn into an angry, controlling binge drinker, or my husband's employer will suddenly go bankrupt and his last check will bounce and four weeks later, we'll find out that I'm pregnant?
How can a happily married, stable, working adult like me possibly believe that she owns a home that will not somehow disappear when she looks in the other direction?
I didn't want to reorganize that basement storage space, because I didn't want to see the folded high chair, the covered bouncy seat, the infant car seat carefully wrapped in plastic to keep out the dust, the bins full of baby clothes, all washed, neatly folded, and sorted by size, waiting for the next baby. The next baby. Waiting for four years, now, for a next baby we haven't chosen yet. A next baby that may never come.
I didn't want to see the box of handwritten letters from friends I now never speak to.
I didn't want to see the telescope two adults who both wanted to be astronauts as kids never, ever take out of its box to look at the stars.
But I did want to start seedlings for my garden.
So I cleaned my basement anyway.