At work I have a sturdy plastic bright pink folder that is growing by the day. It is my “Work in Progress” folder. It is relegated to various things in varying stages of readiness or completion. Well, I am by no means getting any closer to getting caught up on this folder. In fact, it continues to grow in girth. It’s BMI is most definitely out of the healthy range. So, I find myself doing what I tend to do when I begin to embark on the overwhelmed phase; I look for other work to do. I spend time dusting my office area. Then, I search the second floor for a broom to sweep my office floor. Next, I empty out the three hole punch. Now, back to find the broom (should have emptied the three hole punch before sweeping the floor). Next, I tested a few pens in the coffee mug they make their home in. The attractive and substantial looking and feeling pens are all dead. I know this to be true already, as I often search through three or four of these useless pens before I find a viable one. Today I take the plunge, and purge the dead pens – right into the garbage they go! Now, I peak into a few desk drawers, looking for yet another diversion. And, what, there, do I see? Could it be? Another “Work in Progress” folder. This one, thankfully, has a minimal BMI. This one was abandoned a while ago, like a sinking ship. I have the sinking feeling, too, of vájé dō; that none of this has happened before. Where has this folder come from?
I don’t even open it, not today. I am looking for a diversion, not actual work. I have plenty of that. I am haunted, though, by this. I now remember this first “Work in Progress” folder. But, what was happening when I abandon the first folder, just put it away and didn’t look back? I guess I started a whole new folder. Interesting. This cleaning my office diversion has taken a turn for the worst. For me, diversions and high stress go hand in hand.
I recall a time of insurmountable stress in my life. It was my last graduate course, and I was charged with my final writing assignment, if you could call it that. More like an unpublished book. Well, this overwhelmed state of mind completely took me over , and I began looking for diversions. I cleaned my apartment from top to bottom. Then, it came to me – I just had to make homemade pierogies, completely from scratch. What better way to honor my Polish heritage? So, this being before the Internet and Google, I did what any young person might do, I called my Dad on the phone – yes the phone plugged into the wall. He was curious about my sudden desire to try this out. But, he cooperated in my diversion, thankfully. Two hours later, with flour on my clothes and homemade pierogies in tow, I brought samples to my sister, my dad and step-mom. My fiancé watched in confusion and horror, as he contemplated all the hard work I had done up to that point in my graduate program going down the drain.
As always, the diversion gave me enough of a break to get back on track with what I really needed to do. So, I dove back into my final paper with a renewed energy and vigor. And, today, here in my office, I slowly peel back the cover of the abandoned folder. Then, I will chip away at the plumper current folder, until my next self-imposed diversion. This feeling of vàjé dō stays with me, that none of this has ever happened before , until, of course, I find evidence to the contrary.