Last week I went to some classes at BYU's Education Week, Women's Conference's older, dandruffy sister. I sat through a day of organization classes. You'd think it would be boring. In fact, looking over my "notes" some of it was boring. But that first day I went from 8:30am until 3pm. The time flew by. I stayed in the same classroom the whole time. I had a big drink hidden in my bag and internet access on my iPhone. No one bugged me. Bliss. There was a lot of talk about decluttering. I'm in favor of less clutter. I think it's interesting that we value "decluttering" so much now. It used to be a value to save things that you might need for later. I think this change in values is a result of national wealth in general, although poor people (see Hoarding: Buried Alive) also seem able to afford clutter.
I wrote down, "Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions." That makes sense. It's why I can't do menus--because I don't want to decide what to have for dinner. Because what if I don't feel like it?
The last speaker on Monday was Marie Ricks. I love her and I'm very intrigued by her. She is the reason I signed up for Education Week. She was very lively and entertaining. I've been dying to see her in person. She sounds like Olive Oyle. She talked about how the choice to keep is abundant in today's society and encouraged everyone to give away half of everything they own--even perfectly good stuff in order to counter our tendencies and ability to buy and accumulate. I thought that was interesting. Since we accumulate faster than we can use up, giving away our stuff to DI or Salvation Army is a good way to clothe the naked and help the poor. She also talked about stuff or clutter in terms of talents that we might be hoarding instead of sharing, which I liked because I have no real talents. She has books and cleaning cards and all kinds of stuff that I love and think will change my life. She is also inspiring and creative. Her class was my favorite. I know this kind of thing isn't for everyone, but I have to say that it didn't feel good when I was poring over Marie's books and some bimbo walked by and said "I don't need to read a book about all this stuff. I just do it." People--they're the worst.
Tuesday I didn't go to any classes and it gave me a feeling of elation not unlike skipping class in college. I suggest doing this in order to maximize the positive effects of Education Week. Wednesday I only went to a couple of classes. One was a worthless class about once a month cooking. Here's the summary: You can get recipes online for once a month cooking and then you can do once a month cooking. The next step in this process is to decide a day on which to do your once a month cooking. The teacher was waylaid by a vocal minority interested in the minutia of, incredibly, bottled bread in a jar. Want to know more about bottled bread in a jar? Oh shut up.
I went to a pretty interesting class about how important it is for teenagers to learn how to be friends with the opposite sex. Good friendships between boys and girls aren't modeled in the media. Probably because audiences don't get interested until the main characters start falling in love. But in real life you will only (ideally) be in love with your spouse. Everyone else should really only be your friend. But people don't know how to do this. I've often thought this is a problem. Most adolescent angst comes from seeking out romance instead of being happy with and valuing friendship. Most adolescent making out comes from this too. So that's interesting to worry about.
Then I went to this old guy's fitness class for old people. I really enjoyed it. He taught me, "When in doubt, under do it," and threw a medicine ball at me. The other fitness class I went to was much more specific but essentially taught me not to loathe my body but also not to worship it. Thinking about your body and how fat or skinny it is or thinking about and talking about food all the time with everyone is just like worshiping it so that is actually bad for you in addition to being incredibly boring, which is also a bad thing (IMHO). That teacher was really great and inspiring but then I bought her book which turned out to be a self-published pamphlet with lots of typos and no clear thesis or progression of ideas. So now I don't now what to think or do. Or eat.
The last class I went to was Sheri Dew talking about leadership. She told a story about becoming the president of Deseret Book. She felt nervous and unqualified. She told President Hinckley she didn't know if she was smart enough to run the company and he said, "Just hire the brains!" I guess she's a great leader because apparently she took the job and didn't get hung up on the fact that President Hinckley thinks she's dumb. That's the spirit!
On Friday I only shopped. It was a great way to end the conference. I bought two scarves because I'm finally really going to be into scarves this year. I'm doing it! I also bought suckers for my kids who had to babysit themselves a lot during the conference. It really was fun and I learned a lot. Unfortunately, one of the things I learned was that I'd rather be bored than home. But mostly I wasn't bored. Mostly I had fun. And thanks to my friend's teenage sons for dropping us off and picking us up, I didn't have to walk very far. Perfection. You should consider going next year.