Since my recent post about Filers and Pilers has created such interest, I thought it might be interesting to ask Keith to speak about being a “piler”—and living with a filer who has now developed significant memory issues…
These are some of my natural tendencies as a piler: I have many ideas of how to do things in new or different ways, and projects started to accomplish my ideas. But I have just as many projects that are half-finished. My desk is scattered with papers, bills and notes, but I know what each pile contains. What isn’t on my desk can be easily found on my computer. My work bench may look unorganized, but it is exactly perfect for me. I know where every tool, nut and bolt is located, either on my bench or in my tool box. These are many of the the “natural” tendencies of a piler.
But to believe the old adage that “a zebra can’t change his stripes,” is false. Since Gin’s diagnosis and her steady decline, I have learned to be a filer as well as a piler. I have taken over all of the household duties such as meal planning, grocery shopping, scheduling appointments, and many of the repetitive household chores like cleaning and vacuuming. I’m happy to do so; especially after all the years of Gin doing these tasks, I now have the time to do my share. And surprisingly, I’ve really been enjoying it! As a piler, I like variety and creativity; I like trying new recipes. And I like the smile on Gin’s face when I announce: “I’ve made up my own recipe for tonight’s dinner.” To my great pleasure, Gin is loving my meals, and she tells me so often that she is very very grateful “to give up the task, after all these years.”
The same is true of grocery shopping. I’ve learned how important a menu and grocery list can be (can you see my newly acquired filer’s tendencies kick in here?). At the same time, I enjoy the freedom and luxury of meandering around the aisles looking for unusual ingredients and filling the basket with oddities—a piler trait indeed.
However, the best part of my personality traits are neither as piler or filer, but as a loving, caring husband and partner to Gin. I’ve learned to be more patient, tolerant, and understanding of what Gin faces every day, and more willing to expand on my empathy trait and offer hugs and kisses whenever needed. She has always been there during my illnesses and now I’m so pleased to return the favor.