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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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« Creating Expectation | 3 Essentials for New Year »

Recombobulation Area

Writing a new blog post for today was one of the items on my “to do” list. I knew I’d write in the evening because the day was scheduled to work with one of my organizing clients. I hadn’t decided exactly what I wanted to write and was “on the lookout” for some inspiration. This often comes from an image, a fleeting thought, a feeling, an experience, a conversation or a sound. To my delight, my client’s office mate shared a photo of a sign taken at the Milwaukee airport just beyond the security check area. Her photo inspired today’s post and I searched for another version to share with you.

The Recombobulation Area is where airport passengers go to collect themselves after going through security. They gather their shoes, belts, electronics, and baggage before heading off to their flights and next part of their journey. One dictionary defines recombobulation as being “put back the way it was, or into proper working order.” Another definition says, “gathering one’s thoughts or composure.”

As you have probably guessed, the opposite of recombobulation is discombobulation, a word I’m far more familiar with. Discombobulated is defined as “feeling disconnected,” “unbalanced,” “out of order,” or “confused.”

As one year ended and the new one began, I realized how beautifully these two words described aspects of this transition. I felt discombobulated and out of sorts as 2011 came to a close. I had to say goodbye to one of my amazing clients that just passed away. I was struggling to balance work, family, wrapping up the year and planning for the new one. Now that we’re about a week into this year, I’m feeling much calmer. I’ve entered my own personal Recombobulation zone. It’s not that all things are back to normal, but I am feeling more composed. I was aware of the changes occurring and decisions that needed to be made, as I moved from the end of one year to the beginning of another. Transitions are not always comfortable. What are they like for you?

Maybe you’re still feeling discombobulated. If so, I encourage you to discover the signs, which will lead to your recombobulation area. It’s time for a fresh start. What is possible for you?





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Reader Comments (14)

This re/discombobulation rings very true with me today (and for the last few days). Sometimes while I know my own to-do list is growing longer, I become overwhelmed and just crash. Especially after long periods of intense work. So I believe in times like these, when you know you're about to get on a plane, it's a good thing to take a pit stop to the Recombobulation Area (for a few hours or days).

Very wise words, as usual. It's nice to know I'm not the only one, and that sometimes it's ok to give myself a little time to get composed...

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAllison

Recombobulation Area make for organized clients? Good idea!

January 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRCHP

Love this analogy! When faced with transitions, especially where we assess success or evaluate goals, we can feel disheartened or frightened. Thanks for sharing this great visual, as well as a way to process the emotions.

January 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

Ellen- It's always wonderful when you stop by to share your wonderful thoughts. Thank you for joining in the conversation. I love how you picked up on the "visual" sign to help us process our emotions and navigate through tricky transitions. I also like that there's something humorous about the word "recombobulation." It's even funny to pronounce. I know this will help me at those times that I'm feeling discombobulated. I will conjure up this image and allow it to lead me to the clearer area.

January 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Allison- It warms my heart to know that you understand what you need to restore your energy. There's nothing wrong with working long and hard, but none of us can keep that pace without taking a little time to just "blob." You're idea of taking a "pit stop" is wonderful. If we don't, we lose our focus and just burn out. As always, I'm appreciative of your wisdom and that you took the time to share it with us.

January 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Happy New Year Linda!
Great post! Love to learn new words:-) Recombobulation - wow - I have to admit that I'm much more familiar with its opposite.
It seems that life - so far - has been moving from one transition to the next. Not much space in between and since it's an intense inner process for me, I find it helpful to keep my environment in order. It keeps me fairly sane and it helps me function.
I'll take your post as an omen. Maybe this year will be the process of inner recombobulation for me :-)
Thank you! xoxo

January 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterYota Schneider

Starting a New Year is a natural motivator for assessing where you've been and where you want to go, and evaluating what mistakes you've made along the way. I like to think of bidding farewell to a previous year and ushering in a new one is more like a cleanse. What a wonderful opportunity to rethink, focus, and prioritze!

Outstanding post!

January 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Borg

Yota- Happy New Year to you too! So great that you stopped by to share your wisdom with us. I like the observation you made about your need for an orderly environment to function optimally and gain clarity of thought. It's fascinating how we each have different preferences. Some work well in chaos, while others prefer order.

January 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Nancy- I'm appreciate of your kind words and also that you shared this post on Twitter.

We can restart at any time, but there is something unique about the beginning of a new year that says "reflect" and "begin again." It's an inspiring time to rethink and regroup. Thank you for joining us and adding your thoughts.

January 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

After we adopted a rescue dog on December 14, I felt discombobulated - realizing that our lives would never be the same - but then remembered that was one of the reasons I wanted a dog!

A few weeks later, we've all settled into a new routine, which really isn't so very different than the old one, so I guess I can now say we are recombobulated!

Thanks for teaching me a new word!

January 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Janet- How wonderful that you adopted a rescue dog! I can imagine how that changed your daily routines and brought some havoc. But it sounds like you've found your way back to a new normal and are in your Recombobulation Zone. Thank you for joining the conversation and for your great collaborative work with the Professional Organizers Blog Carnival. This month you've collected posts from 17 experts writing about Organizing & Health. For those struggling with health challenges and the organizational issues that arise (feeling discombobulated,) Janet's post is full of great ideas. Here's the link:

January 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Thanks for the plug, Linda! And those tips are also great for people who are feeling healthy but want to stay that way.

January 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Well, you write wonderful words, actually! I know that it's not Christmas yet and there are no holidays near but I wanna wish everyone to be RECOMBOBULATED and happy after reading these warm words posted here!

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMary Jones

Hi Mary,

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and for your Happy Recombobulation wishes. Holidays or not, it's always a good time to step back, regroup and figure out what comes next. The new year always seems like a time when most people are thinking about it, but ideally this same process happens throughout the year. Living in the northeast, I tend to do this as each season changes. Nature's shifts cue me visually that's it time to rethink, review, and move ahead.

May 25, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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