I normally clean my apartment in quadrants. I spend time cleaning one quadrant while the others languish in various stages of messy. Last night, something novel happened. I cleaned my entire apartment and now it’s all at the same stage of clean. What prompted this deviation from standard operating procedure?
To answer that I have to provide you with a bit of background. I am not a clean freak. My mother is (I love you Mom!). This difference is one of the many ways our relationship has been challenged. My apartment always exhibits a certain amount of chaos. That being said, I have comparably few possessions. I do not have enough stuff to fill up a one room apartment. I also organize myself with a pile system. Piles of books to read, return, piles of clothes to clean, papers that I need to deal with. As the piles grow or shrink they get relocated, lending my apartment a certain… whimsical appearance. Messy, for me, means that walking around barefoot (a state I spend most of my time in) is unpleasant because the level dirt and cat hair that’s been tracked in and around my apartment is starting to make itself known on the bottoms of my feet. The most frequent cleaning activity is vacuuming. Everything else happens when I have the time and energy. There’s no schedule and it works for me. It’s definitely not a health hazard, just in case you were worried (which is sweet.)
There are two main reasons I do a serious comprehensive cleaning: someone is coming to stay with me or I need to move while I think. Yesterday I did a lot of thinking resulting in a need to move. As a result, I now have a clean apartment. I spent yesterday reevaluating my life, examining certain relationships, and making decisions about how I was going to proceed.
After all that thinking I made several decisions. 1) I am priceless and need to be around people who value themselves as much as I do myself. I’m very accepting of the places others are in and try very hard not to impose my beliefs and expectations on others. My only expectation of people is that they be willing to change as circumstances change. No one can predict the future and limiting yourself to a certain way of life because of the past is silly. People change, places change, you change, and that’s generally a good thing. 2) Life is full of risks. I will continue to engage with the world despite that fact. When I leave my apartment today to go to physical therapy I have to cross a few streets and I could get hit by a car. An asteroid could fall out of the sky and make an obfuscated iconoclasm pancake. Does this mean I am going to stay huddled in my apartment, avoiding anything that could hurt me? Fuck that (and how would I do that?) There is almost NOTHING in this world that couldn’t cause you harm, be it people, places, or things. Taking your next breath is a risk. So avoiding things because of what MIGHT happen is a very limiting way to go through life (and incredibly boring.) Man the fuck up and take the risk- whether you get rewarded or badly burned, at least you were actively participating and engaging with the world. Whatever the outcome, at least it was a learning experience that can teach you skills for future endeavors. I’m not a gambler (Seriously, why do people gamble? “Here huge casino, please take all my money for the privilege of giving you my money.” Er, pass.) but I recognize that pretty much everything one does is a gamble one way or another. Turning on your car, stepping into the hospital, sitting on my balcony, adopting a child, handling pottery, saying hi to someone- all of these things could produce negative consequences. Does that mean you shouldn’t do them? If you have to ask that question, give yourself a smack on the head, and then go live. Honestly.
See you on the streets. I’ll be the one with an imperious bearing, adorable visage, and zest for this absurd life