The following was written for three word Wednesday: draft, locate, and serenity; and for my writing group, Soup Night: Topic–Junk Drawers
I checked my kitchen junk drawer for inspiration. I found none. It contains the normal kitchen junk drawer items: a few rubber bands; an electrical timer that is not currently in use; some batteries; a roll of painters tape; as well as a package of Christmas ornament hooks. The most interesting thing in there was a package containing a shower cap that I must have picked up from a motel on one of our trips. And that was interesting only because I had been looking for a shower cap a couple of weeks ago.
I decided to look elsewhere. I don’t have a drawer in my computer desk. Often everything ends up stacked on top of the desk, the printer etc. I do however have a set of vinyl “in and out” racks that are stacked in the corner. They serve as the junk drawer on my desk.
In the racks I found my old Texas Instruments Business Calculator along with its reference guide. I haven’t used it in years. Today everyone boots up their computer and calculates the financial information on one of the many electronic spread sheets that are now available. It has been that way for years.
The second thing I found was my Chinese Calculator handbook—more commonly known as my Abacus Guide Book. It is actually a Xerox copy of a handbook that someone lovingly made for me to accompany the gift of an abacus. I have two of these marvelous creations. I really don’t know how to use them, but if I decide I ever want to learn I can of course consult my guide.
I find it interesting that the second page to this guide states that “ There is no doubt that it is one of the most prominent articles of business equipment in Chinese business offices today.” I wonder how old this booklet is. I have had this instruction booklet for probably twenty years. I wonder, do the Chinese still teach their children to use an abacus in school?
Finding these items reminded me that my adult life has focused largely on numbers. Perhaps more accurately I should say that my ‘past’ as an adult has focused largely on numbers. In the past, when people asked, “Do you like your job?” I always responded with “Yes, I love what I do?” But I wonder, if I really loved my job, why don’t I miss it? And I must admit that I don’t miss preparing tax returns and I don’t miss drafting financial statements. It is interesting to realize that what I “was” was an accountant. I ‘was’ a person who lived a life surrounded by financial numbers. But that is not who I am anymore.
Just like the abacus and hand-held calculator, as time goes by, the things we use in life, and the way we use them change. Today I use numbers more for measuring something in my sewing room, a seam allowance, a quilt block or the length of a binding. A ruler or a tape measure is the measuring tool that is ready at hand.
I don’t have an occupational title today. But what I learned from my junk drawer is that I don’t have to locate my self worth in any particular context. I find serenity in knowing that I never really did.