Annie Proffitt is Catatonic… In Japan

Moving is always stressful. It just is. There is no way around it. Moving across the country from Washington to Virginia was pretty epic but, we had a house already rented and I had a job already lined up to start shortly after our arrival. That just left the coordinating of getting us, the cats and our shit from the upper left to the upper southeast the frustrating and stressful part. Small potatoes in the bigger scheme of things.

Moving to another country on the opposite side of the world without knowing where exactly we would be living, flying 2 cats and getting them through quarantine, no clue on how long it would continue to take to get a job, living out of 2 suitcases for 2+ months, not know exactly when all of our stuff would arrive as well as the normal “holy crap, I need to learn a new language ASAP” anxiety. Basically, this last move to Japan got me feeling like…

Yeah, I’ve pretty much lost my damn mind. I’m pretty sure my “mild anxiety” that a doctor once mentioned “might play a role in your occasional insomnia” has skyrocketed right up to the spotlight playing the role of Fantine miserably singing, “I Dreamed a Dream” while quietly killing me as swiftly as TB took the character out in Les Miserables. Ok, maybe I’m being a little dramatic but, only just a little.

Basically, I no longer feel like I have any control over my life. I’m just a mote of dust floating around in the Tokyo Bay breeze and that breeze is at typhoon levels right now. I’m pretty sure I have developed a tiny bit of OCD (truthfully, that shit started when I moved into a 410 square foot garage studio in Seattle but, I digress…) making the unpacking and organizing of a new house more agonizing that it need be. Basically, EVERYTHING NEEDS TO HAVE A FUCKING PLACE TO GO IMMEDIATELY AND ALL THE ROOMS MUST LOOK LIKE THEY ARE ACTUAL ROOMS NOT STORAGE UNITS FORTHWITH.

Have you met my husband? He has bins of stuff; memorabilia, knick knacks, discontinued uniforms from decades in the Navy, photos, newspaper clippings, belt buckles, hats, mugs, an ET sheet from his twin bed when he was in grade school… I mean, a full on 12′ x 12′ room worth of stuff… and he’s “organizing it” in the guest room…

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I literally can’t even… I will say though, his new project spurred me into finishing unpacking and organizing the other guest room that will be an office/craft space with a pull out bed for visitors. That said, this temporary chaos across the hall from our bedroom glares at me. It literally makes me feel itchy. I want to go in there and divide everything up either to display or into individual small bins, put small silica packets in with the items (hello Japan humidity), label them with meticulous hand lettering then, stack them neatly with all their matching labels facing the same way. Preferably in a closet or, better yet, in our storage unit we have with our apartment. EVERYTHING NEEDS TO HAVE IT’S OWN PLACE. IT’S OWN HOME. But, I can’t just do that. The Sailor has his own ideas on how he wants his beloved things categorized and stored. So I continue to twitch every time I walk by but, I leave him to his project.

This utter loss of control over everything in my life at the moment that has led to this anxiety and obsessive compulsiveness to organize which has led me to create lists. Lists that give me the illusion of “having it under control”. Lists that give me a comforting visual of what needs to be done and a tangible, visual way to show the list getting shorter by checking off completed items. Copious amounts of lists. SO MANY LISTS.  Long term projects like painting my old hutch. Daily to do lists like vacuum and scrub the bathtub. Weekly meal lists, grocery lists, stuff I’d eventually like to get for our new huge apartment, different exercises grouped by what muscle they work, flavor combinations to try in my baking… and they are all in a $0.99 spiral notebook with titles scrawled in fancy fonts that I doodled while I mentally compiled first before I started writing the precise bulleted list, each entry with little page markers for ease of finding it to add or to carefully color in the bullet when a task is complete. Basically that notebook is my $0.99 therapy. And I’ve become obsessed.

I started looking up bullet journals based on a suggestion I found when looking for journals with grids or dot grids instead of lines… Lord have mercy, the beauty that I beheld. It’s like artistic LISTS and CALENDARS. Instantly, I wanted to do that but, spending time to flourish and compile the beauty that is the bullet journal seemed to call for something more substantial or special than a $0.99 spiral special from the school supply section. Really, I wanted to harken my youth and did a search for an old school Traperkeeper. Sadly, unless I want to spend $100 on eBay for the vintage gloriousness of Lisa Frank or a fantasy world rearing unicorn/pegasus combo, that’s not an option. I knew I wanted something that I could refill with pages and remove old pages that were no longer relevant or necessary but, I didn’t want some boring binder. If I was going to embrace my OCD and flourish it with colorful fonts and flowers, I wanted the cover to be cute to reflect the fun madness inside. After copious amounts of searching and pondering, I found this little gem

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and have vowed to buy it off my amazon wish list as soon as I have a job. Yes, one of my financial goals to to have a paycheck to by myself a cute personal organizer. Go ahead and judge me.

Ironically, just a week or two ago my friend Mandy, whom is living in Sicily with her own Sailor, sent me a link to a facebook group that popped up in her “you might be interested in” section called “Yokosuka Planner Addicts” asking me if I knew what that even meant. I had no idea and it was a private group so, you couldn’t snoop and see anything. Much to her amusement I requested to join. I even had to answer 3 questions before they would let me request permission, basically proving that I was in the area and not a troll. They must recognize their own because even though I had no idea what the group was about, they accepted me. Let me tell you… these woman literally take creating personal planners to another level. I’m talking using Cricut Makers to create their own journals, vinyl stickers, and adornments. Collections of spools of Washi Tape and specific journaling decals that I couldn’t even imagine existed. Don’t get me started on their discussions of the different types, brands and models of planners on the market and what each of them prefer and why. THIS IS WHAT THESE GLORIOUS LADIES DISCUSS IN THEIR FACEBOOK FORUM. So now, I’m a creepy lurker in that group secretly reveling in the fact that I’m not the only one that needs to have everything written down and organized but, looks cute so I can claim it’s more fun than OCD.

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