Winnowing isn't a word you hear very much any more. It's a term with agricultural origins and its use peaked in 1930, but I like the word, and I am using it, even if my usage doesn't result in a revival of the term.
Winnowing is kind of like de-cluttering, but de-cluttering just sounds clunky and awkward to me, so winnowing it is.
I started with my email inbox. Every day messages arrive from all sorts of great organizations that I love and want to succeed, as well as the usual assortment of newsletters, coupons and advertisements. I honestly felt a pang as I unsubscribed myself from dozens of causes, even though right now our family is in start-up mode so we can't taking on extra financial obligations. Winnowing implies keeping the best and letting go of the rest, but I had to let go of regular dispatches from the fight to stop global warming, cure Altzheimer's disease, and achieve racial equality, just to name a few. The problem isn't with the urgency and importance of the causes (they are all both urgent and important). It is just that wading through constant messages from groups working on those causes does not represent the best use of my time and energy right now. Right now I need to sharpen my focus.
I have lots of ideas. I'm kind of like an idea factory, really. And honestly, a decent number of them are good ideas--like, I could make them work, and other people would say things like, "Wow, that's cool. Where did you get the idea to paint a mural featuring your kids and pets on your kitchen cabinets?"
But I can't do all the cool things I think of doing. Coping with this--too many cool things out there to do, not enough time--is honestly a super hard struggle for me. It sounds kind of like bragging to say so, but we're all special snowflakes, and today's message is for the special snowflakes like me who want to do more stuff than they have time, energy and/or money to accomplish, AND who are still trying to figure out how to prioritize so when we look back we feel satisfied about how we spent our day, our month, our year, our career and our life.
I'm not there right now. I want to be there, and I honestly feel as though I should be. So, I'm winnowing. This is a small beginning but we have to start somewhere.
What does winnowing look like in your life? And do you plan on doing winnowing as part of your New Year's resolutions?