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Life in Pieces

by Janice Hecht

Dec 31, 2019

As the calendar approaches 2020, I’m taking on my annual task of cleaning up my home office space … getting rid of clutter, filing important papers, tossing some old things and making room for new.

It’s always a challenge since my “room of my own” serves not only as a quiet spot for writing, editing and reading but also as a studio of sorts for other creative endeavors like sewing, quilting, painting … and playing the piano. It’s a packed place, and things just seem to accumulate.

This year is particularly challenging. As we continued to work on renovation projects around the house this past year, my space became the repository for all those things we needed to “temporarily” get out of the way.

So I’ve embarked on decluttering and, as it turns out, rediscovering bits of my forgotten self. In the big old wardrobe where I stash all my fabrics and art supplies, I came across a sturdy blue box with no label. I remembered immediately what was in it, though I hadn’t seen it since moving to this house a few years ago.

Inside were the patchwork pieces and some finished blocks for a quilt I began to make four years ago. It’s intended to fit our king-sized bed — eventually. I had put it away during the upheaval of selling one house and buying and renovating another. I was delighted by the colors and textures of the forgotten fabric but equally dismayed I had assembled only a dozen blocks of the 90 needed to make the quilt. If I had continued to work on it for the past four years, I might have finished it by now! But beyond that prospect, this abandoned project serves as a reminder of my need to pursue creative endeavors, an escape from the busyness of life. Putting together a project of this magnitude requires not only time but patience and provides quiet times of reflection. And it’s a lesson in the art of living: appreciating the process, not just the end product … enjoying the journey, not just the destination. And the importance of balance: attention to the details of each small piece, while working toward a bigger whole.

As I reclaim this project — pledging to leave it out on my work table instead of stashing it away in its box — and perhaps because New Year’s is traditionally a time for reflection and making pledges, I feel like I am reclaiming the scattered pieces of my life.

For isn’t this the essence of modern life itself? We scatter ourselves all year, running in circles, taking on multiple tasks at once, busying ourselves with, well, busyness. Turning the calendar page to a new year is symbolic, yes, and provides the chance to start over … with all new intentions to gather the bits of our lives together, keeping the big picture in mind.

Happy New Year!

— Jan Hecht, senior editor


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