First, let me start by reminding everyone that today is Election Day in the US. Living in a democracy places certain obligations on us. In exchange for having a say, we must speak up. In exchange for a trial by a jury of our peers, we must serve our peers as we would wish to be served. So please, recognize the privileges we have and turn out and vote! Vote for the candidate that you feel best serves your interests, your vision for the future, or if none of them, than the one you think is as close to the center as possible since it’s the polarization of the extremes that divides us so much. When you are summoned for jury duty, show up and don’t try to get out of it, and do your honest best! Remember, there are many other systems we could be living under that wouldn’t place such obligations on us but would also not give us the kind of freedoms we claim to cherish. Thank you. *Stepping off my soap box*
Ok, sorry about that – I get very excited by civil obligations and how we can build a better society.
On to housekeeping! I recently realized that while my house is always messy, my soul craves organization and neatness. I keep buying storage bins and organizers in the faint and illogical hope that if I own the right bins, then my life will be magically organized. Since I don’t actually know what to do, I end up with a pile of empty bins and a messy house… I invited a friend to help me hang art (since I SUCK at hanging art – I can make art, but then I put it in a pile. My notion of hanging art seems to be limited to one piece per wall.), and since she’s SO organized, I asked her for advice on my mess. She looked in astonishment at the disorder and told me that I was very organized already, I was just trying to over-organize!! Well!!! That was a bit of a revelation. When I started thinking about this, I realized that I spent my childhood arranging the kitchen spice drawer alphabetically, but at the same time kept losing things because I would put them away in the wrong boxes… So I began pondering the psychology involved.
My parents’ home was messy with stacks of books and papers. They knew where everything was, and it was certainly livable (and clean!), but there was a very thin layer of papers on most surfaces. My mom loved a certain Chinese friend who would enter our home and survey the papers and smile with pleasure, “Ah, the home of a scholar!”. It’s true, my parents were artists and scholars, and so was I. Thus my eternal desire for order was confounded by both a lack of models and the inevitable mess that being an active artist and scholar creates.
I’ve started offering to host events and meetings at my home to ensure there is an incentive to regular housekeeping. But the day my friend came over and created a gallery wall for me and told me I was OVER-organized, I realized that I feel deep down that if it can’t be perfect why bother trying (total violation of the Good Enough Philosophy!), and so I never do anything and have no energy to even tackle anything -I get almost no housework done in a day, I’m perennially exhausted and stressed by the mess. Since my friend came, though, I’ve had so much more energy!! The public areas of the house fell into perfect order in just a couple of days, and the mess is properly put away and organized, not just shifted to the private areas!! The private areas are next on my list!!
I’m not sure how long we will be able to keep this level of perfection up, but it’s an amazing feeling to have things starting to fall into place!! After more than 5 years of upheaval, it’s ASTONISHINGLY freeing to look around the house and have order. To be able to have people drop by without notice and they can have a welcoming space to walk in to. My husband and I both love entertaining, and are so excited to have a space that allows for that! I have more energy and a better outlook on life – I’ve been struggling with depression for the last few years, and a huge part of it was the damage caused by the first movers and the trauma of living in broken chaos for 2 years while we fought our way through the courts. This really helps! This is Good Enough living!!
So, if you are struggling between mess and order, consider inviting an organized friend over to help and advise. Sometimes you just need to find a way to break through so you can help yourself. Mental illness is real and requires professional treatment – this is not dismissing that!! However, when you are making yourself sick by something you hate in your personal life and/or surrounding environment, sometimes fixing it (or getting a friend to help you make serious progress) can dramatically improve things! My friend spent only a couple of hours and only helped me lay out a gallery wall (something I couldn’t even conceive of despite having seen photos and advice on Pinterest), and hanging the art was such a minor, teeny tiny, little part of the mess, but OH MY GOODNESS what a tremendous difference it made!!! All of sudden, the house went from looking like an unfinished house to a warm home and that’s what made all the difference.
I have to share with you my AH-MAZING gallery wall!!! (Thank you SO MUCH, dear friend!!) (In her opinion, it’s still missing a small picture, but it’s more than Good Enough for me! 😉 ). So looking forward now to hosting holiday parties!!