I received an email from a friend recently, who said she didn’t get to bed until 2am the other night because she was cleaning her house. The bathroom and kitchen were a mess, the floors needed doing and the kids had left their toys strewn all over the place.
This friend has three kids and an able-bodied husband. She needs to stop cleaning.
What I find extra-interesting about this situation is that this same friend can’t find time to exercise, or to catch up with friends, or to take time out to get her nails done or go to the library or generally spend some time doing things she loves to do.
I recently had a bit of a rant about not turning into a martyr, but I feel the need to say this specifically.
Now, I get how this can go down. (Well, sort of, but anyone who has been to my house knows I don’t have this particular affliction.) It’s easy to focus on the everyday minutiae of life rather than stepping back and thinking about what you really need to feed your soul and make your heart sing.
“Yes, of course those things are important, I’ll think about them as soon as I’ve finished dusting my pelmets and polishing the oven element,” I hear you cry.
To which I respond, “Loosen the fuck up.”
Here are some wonderful things you could be doing with that time you’re using to clean your house.
Or, you know, you can make up your own.
The point is, the more time we spend inward-facing – focusing on those tiny details that really don’t matter – the less time we spend outward-facing – out there living the life we say we want to live. Sometimes it can be a scary prospect. Sometimes we’re tired and don’t want to think outside of our safe, regular, predictable little box, but it’s worth it. One hundred percent of the time, it’s worth it.
You will never hear anyone say, “I wish I hadn’t gone out and done something soul-enriching today – I’d much rather my carpets were properly shampooed.”
This doesn’t mean you have to live in squalor, of course. Tidy, clean – and please, for the love of Ryan Gosling, delegate to those other people who live in your house and make a very good percentage of the mess. I DON’T CARE IF THEY DON’T DO IT AS WELL AS YOU!
Or – my favourite technique – if your house is messy and you want to spend some time doing what you love to do, leave. Close that door behind you and don’t look back. Odds are that mess will still be there when you get back.
Are you a pathological cleaner? Does it stop you doing things you love? Or are you more of a ‘let that shit go’ type?