Guess what I found!
I found myself able to read a serious book! I have never been able to read a serious book before!
I know that sounds kind of silly, but it's true. I read fiction, memoirs, true crime, and decluttering books, but nothing, like, academic. I have a BA, but I swear I never read any one assigned book in its entirety. I went to The Evergreen State College and took Women's Studies classes - all you have to do is say & know "The Personal is the Political" - which I do believe to be absolutely true - and write about how it feels to be a woman. And I think this is a worthy pursuit! But it didn't require reading a whole book. And I took drawing classes, which were awesome and changed my life but also did not require reading.
I have put in the decluttering work for REAL this time. I've done it before, several times before, but this time I feel like it is more real and more lasting. Thanks to all the fabulous minimalist/simple living blogs I've enjoyed, I now understand that decluttering has an essential second step - changing consumer habits. You can send out as much stuff as you like, but until you also stop bringing it in, the clutter situation can't fully transform.
I have found time and space like I never dreamed possible. It's not like I used to spend all my time dusting my gew-gaws or anything; I didn't find time that way. It just showed up!How can it be that getting rid of stuff creates time? I don't know! It's like magic!
And so, I found myself able to begin reading Foucault: A Very Short Introduction. I had to go out and buy a dictionary - we didn't have one. But when I brought it in I tossed out the same-sized Reader's Digest Book of Home Remedies ha ha. I went to a used bookstore and the clerk helped me find a Merriam-Webster's. He told me that Webster's isn't a brand, it's a style, and that Merriam's is the best.
I sat down for portions of every day this weekend and I read that serious book, and I actually USED the dictionary when I came across an unfamiliar word, instead of glossing over it and trying to guess what was being said. Several times I was really surprised by the true meaning of the word, different than I assumed. So it was really valuable to use the dictionary!
Honestly, I have never had this kind of discipline. I'm blowing my own mind. And I know in my heart it is because I have done the decluttering work. I have so much less guilt and weight on my mind, there is space for learning for the first time.