This week, I continued my Swedish Death Cleaning (SDC for short now) and added some regular cleaning. I had a day off of work for a company holiday (I love my company) and so I decided to spring clean my entire house while it snowed outside. I really love the look and feel of a clean house. I just have trouble maintaining it.
My fibro reared its ugly head after that cleaning so I knew I had to do something that didn’t require a bunch of physical effort for my SDC this week. I decided to tackle my paper files.
I have long been a person who keeps records. And for many, many years, those were paper records. I kept all of my pay stubs and those explanation of benefits you get when you go to the doctor. Old business records, tax documents, even receipts for my FSA reimbursements. Basically, any paper that came in the mail, I kept it.
When it came time to move across the country in 2014, I decided that it was time to go paperless. I bought a little desktop scanner and started scanning everything into my computer. (this is the one I use, but you can definitely find cheaper ones if you want to start going this route: Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i ) But as everyone who has ever moved knows, you never get everything done before you move. So, I still have three file boxes of paper that made the trip with me. They also made the trip back to Colorado with me a few years later.
I have slowly been chipping away at them over the years but I always left the medical, business and tax records to last and they just never seemed to get done. So I decided this was the weekend to get them done.
What a trip down memory lane. As you get to know me here, you will learn that I don’t have a great memory. I remember things in something like batches where I can remember a very specific detail about this one thing but can’t remember the general specifics of it. I am sure there is a bunch of science around that but I have not done the research. I just know that one of the reasons I hang onto things, is so I can remember more of the general specifics or I can have something concrete to tell me when it happened.
The medical records go back 20 years, the taxes go back 25 years. And do you know what, I went into the day thinking I was going to scan all of that information but I didn’t. 95% of it went into the shred bin. I did actually rifle through the papers, because I knew there were some gems in there that I wanted to document. Milestones type of things. Things like job changes (the health insurance always changes so it is easy to document when the job changed). Or things like hospitalizations because they always ask for that on medical history stuff when you change doctors (I have to do this way too much) and I can never remember the dates. So, when I got to that kind of stuff, I stopped and wrote it down in a document, and then continued on. I only scanned very few papers that I thought I might need in the future. Like a letter confirming a diagnoses or something like that. And because of that, I made a lot of progress on getting rid of that documentation. I only have one half of a file box to go and I will be done.
What I didn’t expect was to come away from that task with a new look at life. I have resisted getting older and often say that I have a 25 yr old brain living in this almost 50 yr old body. But as I was going through those documents, I started thinking about all the lived experience that those 25 years held. I found a paper from a job where I performed very poorly and I thought about what I learned from that experience. I thought about all the different jobs that I went through when I was younger and how all of them gave me pieces of experience that made me perfect for the job I have today. All the different mentors who helped me become a better person. I realized that I am pretty grateful I am not the person I was at 25 anymore. I am much better. Older, somewhat wiser, and definitely more thoughtful and more kind. I also know there are still some things to work on, but I am pretty happy with where I am now.
So, I am feeling pretty accomplished, and I know that will be fleeting but I am going to take today and enjoy it as someone who got through part of a thing. I will probably do a little more work but I am also going to indulge in at least one episode of one of my favorite shows, “The Great Pottery Throw Down”. I hope you all have a a week that gives you some happiness and you maybe get to enjoy at least one indulgence. See you back here next week!
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