January slows down a bit for us at the newspaper, and not just because 2018 started out with an Arctic blast that froze everything up. After the holiday rush is a good time to get organized for the year ahead before the lull disappears and things pick up again.

The piles at home and work reflected the mess of a year that 2017 had become. With the turning of the calendar to a new year, I decided it was a time for spring cleaning at home because we are in a quest to reduce our junk and at work because it was interfering with my ability to find the things I really need.

The thinning of accumulations at home is a trend among baby boomers, I understand, because the millennial generation tends to seek a more minimalist lifestyle and doesn’t want “stuff” to get in the way.

Going through my stuff to sort out brought back a lot of memories, but also questions of what I thought I would do with the things I collected. At the time, they seemed important, but did I really think I would be sitting around reviewing all those mementos or that my kids would find them interesting?

At work, I disposed of ideas, potential projects, records that weren’t so important any more and clippings of things I thought I may use later, but never did. I figured if I haven’t found them useful by now, I never will.

However, one of my work piles did uncover a memento — the funeral program from former Tri-County Record publisher Myron Schober. It’s a 28-page program that maybe only a journalist could love with detailed writing and several photographs of the stages of his life.

I kept it because I always admired Schober. As the family noted in the introduction, “his advocacy for progressive long-range thinking reflects Myron’s deep care for the well-being of the community.”

I don’t see that much anymore. Publishing, even in small towns, is more about marketing, content and clicks than looking out for a community these days.

As I discovered when I purchased the Rushford newspaper from him and his wife, he was also a meticulous record-keeper and collector. His funeral reviewal included displays of some of the artifacts from his life, including relics from Vietnam, reminders of the flood that hit Rushford, state awards and items from the newspaper office.

That reminds me that being a judicious collector has some merit as there really are certain things that could bring meaning to others. The key is choosing wisely.

Schober was a man who accomplished much in his field, did many good deeds in the community and was focused in his efforts. At the same time, he was also quite a reflective person, pondering everything life threw at him.

Although I have a similar philosophy on community journalism as he did, I don’t feel like I ever measured up to his standards. His was a newspaper to admire.

While I also value reflection as he did, it seems as if the times are working against that state of mind. Everything is rush, rush, rush these days. The reason I have a mess to clean up is because I tend to throw things in a pile and move on to the next thing, hoping to get back to something that seems too important to throw away at the time.

Society today values speed over quality, tweets over reflective writing, surface appeal over excellence and action over contemplation.

Although much has changed, and continues to change at the speed of light, Schober’s life example is worthy of keeping in the forefront of my mind. As I sort through my life’s piles in an attempt to better focus for the years ahead, I will also take time to reflect on my, my family’s and the community’s, past.

Not that I am contemplating my death, but I’m not planning a 28-page funeral program or a display of artifacts now or at my funeral. Still, some of the moments of my life have had meaning and I need to preserve those while culling out the superfluous, something that is easier said than done.