Despite appearances, this is not a column about moving furniture.
For reasons unknown, three months ago, my husband took all the bits and pieces I had stored in a rather large piece of furniture in our bedroom and moved it to our living room. Granted, the piece was not designed for a bedroom and shouldn’t have been there to begin with, but it was and, in my humble opinion, it worked.
But he didn’t think it belonged there, and, like I said, he was right. He moved it to a spot right beside our front door and said we would sell it. I was game.
The giant empty piece of furniture began its life near our front door.
Gradually, I started placing this and that inside its closed doors. A candlestick here. A souvenir there. A spindle of string. A birthday card. A pewter tray.
Haphazardly, the glass-doored 6-foot tall chest on legs began to fill. It looked ridiculous, and I missed the storage space in our bedroom — be it right or wrong.
At this point, I should be completely honest. I must admit that though I’d like to say this piece of furniture was moved three months ago, that is a lie. I only thought it was “a few months,” but upon closer reflection at the dated artifacts inside, I now realize it was moved more like 14 months ago.
At first, I asked about it often. In fact, it sat empty for a good two months.
I readily admit that this turn of events did not have happy consequences for my marriage. I began to ask about the piece of furniture, perhaps too often and with no results.
“When are you going to sell that thing?”
“Why did you empty it and move it in here to begin with?”
“It doesn’t look good there. We should do something with it.”
And so it went, for a long, long time.
I get a lot of email.
Most of it is from people, companies or organizations I’ve taken an interest in over the years. Over the past several months, I’ve noticed a trend. Much of the unsolicited email comes in during the night. Yep, between 11:30 p.m. and 8 a.m., I’ve been getting about 60 emails each and every night. Granted, much of it has deals and information that I might be interested in — if I had the time and energy to sift through it all.
About three weeks ago, I began relentlessly deleting the junk email each and every morning. Call me slow, but early this week, I realized that I should simply unsubscribe to the array of emails filling my inbox over night. I decided to unsubscribe to a minimum of six lists a day. Doing so has been no easy task, but it’s been empowering.
On Thursday morning, as I sat in my self-congratulatory stupor after unsubscribing myself from six email lists, I looked up and saw the giant piece of furniture — the very piece of furniture that has been driving me crazy for far too long.
I sat there and thought, “I bet that thing’s not really that heavy.”
So, I removed the rugs and cleared a path between the living room and our bedroom and started moving the piece of furniture. With every foot I inched that large piece of furniture down the hallway, I became more and more robust and determined.
Of course, I thought, “Why didn’t I do this long, long ago?”
The feeling was the same one that I got from unsubscribing to the email lists. In both cases, for months, I had wallowed in a state of learned helplessness asking, “Why is this happening? Why doesn’t someone else fix this for me?”
When in fact, fixing both the problems was within my grasp all along.
Jan Risher’s Long Story Short appears Sundays. Email her at email@example.com.