The realization that this is the last weekend of 2018, gave me a shiver. This year has flown by much more quickly than I had anticipated it would. There are still some projects that are uncompleted that didn’t seem they would require a lot of time.
Thankfully, I don’t have any legal or official business that has gone undone. There are only a few routine monthly household bills that have not yet arrived in the mail.
There are a couple of long-term projects that I’ve been chipping away at that will probably extend well into 2019. The main one is to downsize my personal possessions.
This month alone, I’ve taken half-a-dozen car trunk loads of things to charity or to a consignment seller. This includes several boxes of books that I don’t have time to re-read or that failed to capture my interest beyond a chapter or two. Most of my knick-knack collection is finally gone, and I even managed to maneuver my old ten-speed bicycle into the ol’ Camry for a trip to the Goodwill store.
What remains for next year are a dozen or so storage totes in the basement. I don’t know what they contain. I’m not sure whether or not to look inside of them or if the stuff should be auctioned off. The other major downsizing will be my wardrobe.
Thankfully, I don’t have a hoarding problem. The collecting of things is simply a matter of having lived in one little house for more than 38-years. I’m growing older and have less physical stamina to deal with a lot of stuff. My interests have slowly, but radically shifted towards other aspects of life. Plus, if I need to vacate the house for any reason, the totes and large wardrobe are impediments to progress.
“A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the ‘why’ for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any ‘how.'”–Viktor Frankl
Of course, as long as we’re alive, people will have unfinished business of some sort or another. The need to work on something bigger than oneself can motivate us to remain physically and mentally active. When we are involved in continuing, positive activities, we can remain healthier and happier. Maybe we even live longer if we have constructive unfinished business to do.
People like me don’t like to have unfinished business on our minds. We feel compelled to make sure our correspondence is answered and that minor projects are completed ASAP. What is especially rewarding is to be so “into” a project that it’s difficult to stop doing it.
For instance, when I wash the car, I like to get everything sparkling clean from front to back, inside and outside of the vehicle. To spend a day detailing the car to like-new condition is absolutely enjoyable and rewarding. I do my best to not overlook anything. The experience is Zen-like.
I don’t want to be like Franz Schubert and have a major work like his Symphony Number 8 in B minor–his “Unfinished Symphony”. He began writing the masterpiece in 1822 but never completed composing it. The symphony wasn’t finished due to his death, because Schubert lived for another half-dozen years after he failed to finish orchestrating the piece. Who knows why? Did he simply lose interest in it? Was he distracted? Apparently, Schubert was not hung up about having unfinished business on his hands.
America has plenty of major unfinished social business. I want to be at least a small part of the solution. The civil rights issues will probably remain unfinished long after I’m gone. Every single day, I ponder ways to help resolve these problems.
Although we have to live in an unfinished society, we will always have unfinished business to motivate us to carry on.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes writer Vladimir Nabokov. “Existence is a series of footnotes to a vast, obscure, unfinished masterpiece.”