I love selling the beautiful city of Savannah to people all over the world that I have the privilege of meeting each day. I am blessed to work with people who are my friends. I am grateful for the transition I made to the south 2 years ago. I say I love you and I like you to the man I married who is also my best friend.
When I am a quiet billionaire I am still working (as stated in above paragraph) and I am changing the lives of others by helping them get organized in any way I can to serve them.
Watch “Finding Joe,” so you can answer the question.
What is your bliss?
As the car pulled away from the loading zone Jacob was in business mode. My attention was divided. Jacob’s voice was stern and flowed from one conversation to another. When he wasn’t talking he was texting. I’m a successful professional organizer and yet I’ve never been as glued to my phone as my brother.
My brother was talking about business deals, the stock market, his golfing plans as soon as the weather improved. The grieving process had started for me. I had flown from my comfortable immaculate apartment in Savannah to still-chilly-not-Mother’s Day-yet Syracuse to mourn my dead sister and clean out her 3 bedroom house.
Jacob looked over at me occasionally. He furrowed his brow. Did he not recognize me? Did he expect me to be as addicted to my phone as he was? Did he realize what he was avoiding? I exhaled loudly and cleared my throat.
“I’m glad you’re here. I’m sorry I’m so busy right now. I have the funeral arrangements to deal with too.” His mostly salty gray hair glittered in a ray of sunshine through the window.
What is wrong with you? When did you become so insensitive and unaware of your actions? I screamed these words in silence. I stared blankly at him.
You get 5 points for asking that. My lips curled into the softest of smile. We use to play a silly game of giving each other points as proof we cared or were having fun with each other.
“I’m ready to go there and start working.” I wasn’t going to fight with him while his driver, Alexander, listened.
We pulled up to the house we grew up in. Jules had bought it in 2000. Our mother’s tulips still came up in the spring. My favorite colors were the pink and yellow ones. I’d collect a few and add them to the daffodils that came up near our porch. I didn’t think I’d be coming back to this house. I didn’t think I’d be coming back; how do I do this without her greeting me?
Alex stopped the car at the end of the driveway. He came around to my door and opened it then fetched me my bags from the trunk. I smirked making sure my brother saw my impressed expression. Jacob needs to learn some gentlemanly cues from Alex. I stared at the precipice of our home 50 feet from me. I started walking towards her, towards my past and only faintly heard my brother call that he’d pick me up at 6pm for dinner.
One foot in front of the other. My vision was blurry from crying.
Here I am, tell me everything.
In challenging times or on rough days, find one thing to be grateful for.
Get excited about performing a random act of kindness.
I close my eyes and clear my mind. Keep clearing it until I think of nothing.
“You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood … back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and of fame … back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.” (Ellipses in original.)
The plane landed at 10:30AM. I wore a black wool coat over my charcoal sweater and black skirt with black leggings. My days of wearing heels were over and my black sneakers comforted my stride. I packed my suitcase with the intention of attending her funeral. Before I left my Savannah apartment I tucked her picture into my cranberry leather planner. I needed her with me.
I hadn’t seen Jacob or our sister, Jules in 2 years. Jake was always busy with his real estate firm. Jules had been a successful interior designer up until the murder. When her husband Jeff was killed, my sister emotionally died with him.
When Jacob would call, our conversation was scripted.
“Hello, how is work, it’s busy, you’re more OCD than is healthy, Miranda, you should relax more, Jules no-showed for the party or the gathering. I keep telling Kate to stop inviting her because she’s a lost cause. My response would be asking about my niece Audrey and telling him Jules is still our sister we can’t give up on her.
I rubbed my eyes as the front section of coach stood to disembark. The weather was still crisp in Syracuse. It was March 15th. The sun was shining when I stepped out onto the sidewalk.
I looked at her crying face in our picture and whispered: “I’m here for you. I’m doing this for you. I never gave up on you.”
I exhaled and closed my eyes. I’ll never forget the backwards hug I know I felt. She knew I was there. I opened my eyes and looked into the crystal blue eyes of a man sitting in a black Mercedes. I smiled softly and mumbled to myself, “I’ll work on him for you.”
You can’t go home again, because you’ve changed and so has everything else.
“She’s dead,” he said in a numb tone. He had prepared himself for this and knew what he had to ask me to do.
I stared into the picture, now a memorial, on the folders. My vision blurred as tears rolled down my cheeks. My promises to reconnect with her were empty now.
“When did she…” I took a steadying breath, “when did this happen?”
“Two days ago, we think. The place was so full of stuff that they had to bring in a dumpster to remove the body.” His words stung so much because he didn’t understand her illness.
I wiped my tears and massaged my right temple. My sister was dying in a room and no one noticed for 48 hours.
“You’ll come clean it out so we can sell it, right?” There it was, the sentence I knew was coming.
“Please. We need you here. You’re the only one who knows how to do this. She’d want you to do it.”
I exhaled. I hadn’t realized I was holding my breath.
“I’ll let you know when my flight lands.”
It was going to be my most challenging organizing project yet.
I would learn her secret in the process.
“Are you sitting down?”
My brother has always been a straight-to-the-point guy.
“Yes, I’m filing.”
“Oh. Good. Good practice for you when you get here.
His words stung me like a fishing hook scraping my mouth and reeling me forcefully in.
“Why do I need practice at a skill I use every working day…”
March 6, 2015 – I died today. An old Polish neighbor we had growing up once told me in broken English, the moment we are born, the way we die has already been determined. Well screw that! I want a do-over. I’m in a void, not quite there, not quite here. It doesn’t really matter how it happened. What matters is that I never got to tell her.
I was taming the paper tiger when my phone rang. Filing is the task everyone hates. You’re either paper or you’re electronic. When processing the mail or filing you’re weeding out the bills and important tax documents and making sure each decision you make is the right one. Second guessing is the bumper-to-bumper traffic of organizing. I’ve always been a paper person myself. I was feeling accomplished in the moments before the call. My folders were organized by color: red are bills to be paid, with the due date scheduled on the calendar. Green is banking statements and financial documents. Blue is client lists and correspondence. Yellow is event planning and marketing materials. I was holding a picture of us taken in our childhood bedroom when my phone started ringing. My vision was glued to the background of the image. We’d been getting along well most of the day until I couldn’t find a book I wanted to read. My side of the room was always neat, clean and well-organized. Her side was a tornado after an earthquake had hit. My face was sour and tight with subdued rage. Her eyes were puffy and her nose red. She’d screamed and cried. I was angry because I couldn’t find what was mine in her mess. We had an arm around each other and our expressions declared it was forced. I had 2 more rings left until the call would be sent to voicemail. Jacob was waiting for me to answer. He wouldn’t leave a voicemail. I placed the picture in front of the folders. I couldn’t decide which folder she belonged in. I made a silent promise to call her and remind her about that day, this time hopefully only with shared laughter.
Two weeks ago I was driving home from work. I glanced at the dashboard and blankly acknowledged the low tire pressure light that wouldn’t turn off. I’d had the car for 9 years. I named it Jules. (This paragraph is starting to sound like a Liberty Mutual commercial). I knew I needed a new car. I was waiting for… an urgent reason to buy one. I turned onto another street and the car started to rumble. My attention was split: what God awful thing is caught under my car and I have to slow down to avoid an accident. You know it’s a bad sign when you dread red lights. The metallic grinding sound worsened and I nervously called my husband. This part of the story ends with the car being towed to our home and 2 weeks of using my husband’s car (it frustrated us both) was enough to get me to my new car purchase today.
2017 is my 0-1 Year for launching Shearly Organized. I love feeling organized. I love feeling confident that I know where the information is that you need. I love teaching you how to get organized. This year I am learning how to build beautiful helpful systems for myself so then I can teach you and be compensated for my services.
The first paragraph relates to the second because I had no idea what kind of new car I wanted. My criteria was a backup camera, (they come standard in cars now, yay!) family safe, great consumer rating, less room in the trunk (I want to avoid clutter opportunities) a moon roof and a fun color that I love. A spreadsheet was made for me with the manufacturer’s name and the models. I was advised to create a rating system. 1-10. 1 was no way, 10 was this is my new car.
I test drove the Subaru Impreza, Ford Focus, and the Honda Civic. Honda Civic is a pimpin’ car. I laughed the entire test drive because I felt like a guy lookin’ to get lucky in it. The Ford Focus was cool. I kept coming back to the Impreza; I rated it 6.5. Today I bought it in Teal and named it Jade.
Being organized helped me find my new car. Last night I pulled one of my credit reports and took a glance to make sure nothing would surprise me when the finance department at the dealership did the same. I feel at peace and proud of myself. I borrowed a portion of funds from myself (a fantastic free amortization schedule is on my desk) and I owe a small amount to a bank.
Being organized is knowing how to repay a loan faster, eating healthier to save money and knowing that your future is safer because you bought a car you love that you needed.