Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Back home from Japan: Re-entry shock

We're back from Japan and I am suffering from severe re-entry shock. We returned late Sunday night, and the first two days were all about the physical misery of jet lag. Just as I was waking up, we ran into July 4, which added to the confusion by throwing a holiday in on a Tuesday.

Today I felt ready to get back to work but when it came time to start untangling the mess of items on my to-do list I felt literally paralyzed by indecision. Where to start? I ticked off a few timely items, but now the morass of household duties combined with writing chores I am still too dazed to complete is staring me in the face.

This feeling is undoubtedly magnified by the fact that in Japan, the three of us stayed in a teeny hotel room, and while we were cramped and living out of suitcases, I didn't miss my other "stuff" a bit. Having maid service and eating out were also truly luxurious. Now that we are back, my big challenge for the summer is to come to grips with all the clutter that has accumulated in our home. Not much of it is true junk, but we bring in so much information into our lives on a daily basis that keeping up with it all is like drinking from a fire hose. One of the things I love about being a writer is that I have a good reason to read tons of books. I read more books now than I did when I was in college, thanks to my favorite store and research tool, Amazon.com. But sooner or later something has to give on the bookshelves. It's time to face up to the choices of deciding what we need to keep and organizing it in a meaningful way. It's a privileged problem to have, to say the least, I realize. Still, I hate investing so much time into just getting things back to normal, but sometimes you just have to take a time-out from moving forward and dig in to clearing your workspace. If I am lucky, some clarity or insight about what to tackle next might emerge in the process. (Even while picking up clutter I am always on the lookout for a good multitasking opportunity.)

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