taking inventory

I like to take inventory of what I have going on wardrobe-wise several times a week. One of my (few) personal strengths is the uncanny ability to always know exactly what’s in my closet and where it is. I can even tell you where I got each article of clothing and when, what I paid for it, and maybe even what I was wearing or how I was feeling at the time I bought it. It’s a truly bizarre talent that I cannot explain.

In spite of the fact that I do love clothes and fashion, I’m pretty good about not allowing the volume of things I own to get completely out of hand. A few times a month, I’ll walk into Brett and my shared closet, review what all is in there, maybe move a few pieces into my “sell” bag or “donate” bag, and move some things around according to season. Whenever I bring in something new, I like to move something old out. It’s a constant process of keeping things fresh that makes OCD brain happy, and it has a positive side effect of preventing me from buying too many things that I really don’t need.

This cycle of closet curation and assessment is something that just comes naturally. I live for it. I like the inventory process of seeing what I have, all hanging up or stacked neatly in my closet. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about applying this concept to my life as a ‘personal inventory’: taking my own personality attributes, accomplishments, and flaws, and examining these things in a transparent, judgment-free way. So in the spirit of taking stock of my own personal inventory, I wrote a list of my own ‘pros’ and ‘cons’, if you will. A list of things I’m happy about, and things I know I can do better at. Here goes!

Things I’m Proud Of

  • My education. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish (minor in German) and I also earned a Masters of Health Sciences while I was working full-time. I had a GPA over 3.75 for both degrees. I definitely am a life-long learner: I’m never happy stagnating in my career or really any other aspect of life. I always want to be learning, doing, going, achieving, and meeting new people, and I consider myself to be very naturally curious.
  • Losing about 100 pounds and keeping it off for 10 years. This is something that I honestly forget about sometimes, just because it seems like several lifetimes ago. I did it by changing my diet and exercising. and, if I’m being honest, it’s something that I still struggle with, and I think a lot of other people do too. I also had cosmetic surgery towards the end of 2005 to tighten and remove excess skin, and I have the scars to prove it. I’m far from perfect when it comes to health/nutrition/physical activity, but I try.
  • I’m a seventh-generation Texan. I spent years being almost ashamed of my Texan-ness (Texanity?), mostly when I was living in the Pacific Northwest. There are certain negative connotations and stereotypes that come with being from Texas, but I feel like living in Austin allows me to get away from a lot of that, and I’m proud of the fact that I can say I’m a Texan AND a feminist/liberal/pro-choice/whatever. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.
  • I’m not afraid to pick up and start over. Moving several times in my life has actually made each next move a little bit easier. Chalk it up to having been uprooted from my hometown when I was fourteen and moved across the country, but I can honestly say that I am unafraid of the idea of picking up and going somewhere else if my life’s circumstances were to call for it.

Things I Need to Work On

  • Patience. This is a huge flaw that I’m well aware of (Brett loves to tease me when we’re driving because I get so crazy at bad drivers) and it carries over to many aspects of my life. It’s more than the little things like getting held up in line at the grocery store or having to wait for multiple traffic light cycles to get through a busy intersection: the short-term patience issue is one thing. But I also have a problem with long-term patience: wanting my career to develop faster than it has, or saving up the money over time to buy something I really want, rather than making a rash decision and buying something right now just because I tell myself I can’t wait (more on that later).
  • Empathy. I actually think I’m an empath naturally and I feel like I’m constantly thinking about how things I say or do may affect other people. But this is something that I think everyone can work on: taking a step back, and before you say or do something, think “How would I feel if I were in their shoes?” This is intrinsically tied with my patience issue as well: sometimes when I feel myself wanting to make a snap decision or rush to conclusions, I often fail to pause and really think about how or why a decision had been made that may be counter to my own thinking. My circumstances aren’t others’ circumstances, and I need to do better at remembering this.
  • Saving money. I’ve improved in this area over the years, but I know that I can (and should) be doing a better job of saving more of what I earn. My proclivity for fashion and shopping certainly doesn’t help matters. I need to learn to get better at saying ‘no’ to buying things that I know I don’t need: flexing this muscle over and over will eventually make my willpower and my savings account stronger over time.
  • Making time for the people I love. I’m almost tearing up writing this. I try to do as best I can to reach out to family and friends that I don’t see very often. I write cards and make phone calls every once in awhile, but I know I can do better. It’s often said that there’s no greater regret in life than not spending more time on the things that really matter, and this is what really matters to me. I’m nothing without my family and friends, and sometimes I need to remind myself of that.


Well, that’s what I’ve got. Actually typing this out and looking at the things I need to improve and the things I need to remember to be proud of is a harrowing, yet cathartic process. I hope that this has been helpful to someone in some way: it’s certainly helped me look at my own life in a different light. Perhaps I’ll do this process again in another six months or so to see if I’ve gotten better at my ‘Things to Work On’ list or if any items on the inventory have changed.

What’s on your ‘personal inventory’ list?

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