The other week, I was having lunch with my best friend. Our conversations are usually jam-packed with talk about family and work and random things like….dust. Yep. At some point, the conversation made a turn and we started talking about cleaning our homes. Let me just say that we are the same age – a slight bit over 50 – so we have that same story to tell. That little ditty that goes something like this…. “When I first got my own place, I would clean faithfully every week at the same time, usually Saturday”. What were we thinking? Did we not have a life back then?
Now, before you think that walking into my house would be like walking onto the set of The Munsters (yep, I’m over 50), my home IS clean…but lived in. The kitchen and bathrooms do get my attention regularly, but the dust? That lingers a bit longer before I rid of it. It’s crazy how quickly it sneaks in without you noticing and like a bad house guest, stays longer than it should. Why doesn’t it just go away on it’s own?
I must admit though, it’s particularly satisfying when I go to someone else’s home and notice it lives there, too. Yippee! There are others out there who don’t always give in to that nagging voice that tries to tell us we must have a spotless house. It will be there when we get around to it, and we will. Just not now. There are things more important to tend to. Besides, I’ve heard it said that “A clean house is the sign of a boring person”. And who wants to be boring?
If I allow myself to walk past it and not give it a second glance, it gives me the chance to read a good book, write in my journal, or take in a movie with a friend. It’s only temporary. Now, I don’t let dust bunnies roll around the house like tumbleweeds, but neither do I have a regimented cleaning schedule. I tried that. My life, the one that I want to enjoy, takes precedence. I usually straighten up when it’s needed and it’s usually at odd times, like ½ hour before I need to leave for work or when I jump out of the shower and I’m half-dressed. That last part is true….and just this morning when I decided to clean the shower.
If you have kids, keeping the house straight is like shoveling snow during a blizzard. The amount of mess the little ones – and not so little ones – can generate is sometimes beyond conceivable. I remember when my girlfriend’s kids were young. She would apologize for her messy house. Toys were strewn, piles of paperwork sat, dirty dishes in the sink. I just laughed it off. I would always remind her, “Umm, you have kids. What do you think it’s going to look like?” You can let the dirt and clutter get to you or you can learn to breathe through it. Accept the chaos, enjoy your children and don’t stress. It is what it is.
Same thing with dogs and cats. You love your 4-legged furballs but let’s face it, you can practically create another one with the amount of hair they sometimes leave behind. And just when you finish cleaning your kitchen floor, here they come traipsing their muddy paws across it like they are working on a finger painting. Remember how fun that was when you were young? I think the dog thinks so, too. Just look at it as doggy art.
We all must rid our homes of the dirt and tidy up. That is true. But we need to enjoy life, too. Give the vacuum a break, lay the duster to the side, be less regimented and have fun. Life is too short to worry about the fact that you can (almost) write your name on the coffee table. Nobody is going to condemn you for it. I sure wouldn’t. I would try to try to keep the smile off my face while that little voice inside of me would be shouting “Yes!! I am not alone.”