Good friend sent me this recently. I have another close friend, who every time I come over to her house, apologize is for the mess. I constantly tell her that I expect a house to be messy that has two small children in it. I used to be very tidy people would come over to my house and comment that they could eat off the floor everything was sparkling clean and put away and dust free. My grandma taught me how to be very regimented when I was young. The reason that things had to bake in the oven, was so that we would have time to clean. Everything had its place, and it makes more sense to put it away right now then deal with More of it later.
I kept this up for most of my life, for my married life when I was the only one doing it, to my newly single life, “in case somebody came over.” During the pandemic, people stopped coming over. I realized it would be a long time before anybody came over again. So I let my life get messy. Since no one else was around to see it it was okay to leave things on the tables and leave my clothes on the floor. Of course it was going to be me picking them up later, and I don’t know if this is a better or worse routine. The way Grandma taught me, I had to be hypervigilant and constantly monitoring myself to make sure that I closed cabinet doors and put things where they went and not just down. Sure, sometimes I can’t leave my house because I can’t find my key. Sometimes I have to do a lot of cleaning up. The only thing I know is that I’m way more relaxed now that I’m not focused on how my place looks.
On the rare occasion someone does visit my home, I don’t need to have any special cleaning frenzies. The people I allow into my home are good people and close to my heart. I’ve been in their messes, and they’ve also been in mine. A friend who lives close by offered to occasionally surprise me with a visit in order to help me manage my startle response when I hear a doorknock. The first time she did this, I was very nervous looking around at the mess. But then I remembered it doesn’t matter she’s here to see me, not a museum.
I’ve seen the world from both sides now, I spent most of my life being a very type a personality. My whole identity was my ability to manage a lot of responsibility with very little supervision. I was the organized desk person at work, the minimalist. I got my job done Even if I had to stay late to do it. I used to wonder how people could miss an appointment, or be late somewhere. Now I am that person and I know why these things happen.
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