Housework and self-improvement

May 7, 2008 at 5:33 pm 3 comments

What does housework have to do with eating disorders? More than you may realize! First of all, when I look back to my worst times — living alone in a studio apartment in New York City (that was the good part!) and bingeing blindly (you can guess which part that was), my apartment was a disaster! I will skip the details, but let’s just say I didn’t clean very often. When I did, it was usually in the middle of the night. It would have taken me the whole day to get motivated, or I might just do it on an impulse.

Somehow, cleaning my apartment at night, while normal people were asleep, I felt like an elf in a fairy tale. You know – I’d wake up the next day and — SURPRISE! — my apartment would be clean! But let me get back to the dirty part. There I would be, scrubbing away at the bathroom walls, and think to myself: “Gee, doing housework isn’t so bad. It’s just getting started that’s the worst part. I can do this more often, then the mess won’t be so bad.” Is that what I did? Of course not! The weeks passed once again.

Since I’ve recovered (and live with a very orderly, cleanliness-loving man), my housecleaning habits have improved considerably — if not drastically. But lately it has occurred to me that I do housework often just not to get a scolding, which is really quite stressful, so I’ve relaxed a bit. He’s not complaining anymore, because I’m not putting up with it anymore. Or maybe he’s walking on eggshells, now that I’m not? I’m not going to get into that today. The point is, I’ve relaxed things a bit and feel less pressure.

So much for my cleaning history as a bulimarexic and as a healthy woman. More important to me are the lessons life gives me, which also includes having to get through some difficult situations. It occurred to me while writing to someone that these challenges, issues and problems are kind of like housework. Whether I deal with them today, tomorrow, next week or even never — they won’t go away. So why not relax and deal with them when I’m motivated? Just like I do with the housework?

In fact, it just occurred to me. I’m sure anyone who does housework knows that some days are better than others. That is true about any work, actually. There are days when everything flows, the work seems to almost get done by itself. Equally, there are other days, when even the minor tasks seem to take forever or just don’t go well. For several tasks, it would make sense to consult a calendar. Depending on which sign of the zodiac the moon happens to be in (I don’t know if I’m saying this right, but you can check any good calendar), certain tasks are better done or left alone. I’m serious! For example, there are only a few days a month on which it makes sense to clean windows. Unfortunately, I haven’t cleaned my windows for a few months, because it either rained on those days, I had company, or — oh, dear! — I just didn’t feel like it. Yes, that can happen, too, regardless of the calendar.

Looking at it from this perspective, even though there are things about myself and life that need work, it really isn’t so terrible if I don’t get it all done this week. But rather than doing a marathon job once a year, maybe this could also be broken down into smaller tasks. Then less “mess” would collect over time. Theoretically, at least. When the relatives come, they always leave a mess!

I’m just about finished, but there is one more topic that must be discussed, since I’m talking about work. Free time. “All work, no play, for me that is a lousy day.” And yet, I find it so difficult to play sometimes, because there is still so much work to do. Playtime could also be put into the schedule. Oh, I’m so sorry if this sounds like I’m making up rules. I really shouldn’t do that, because the first thing I’ll do is break them. Several years ago, in a sudden burst of honesty, I gave up making New Year’s Resolutions. For me, there is absolutely no point. “Must, should, have to, ought to, supposed to…” are words I don’t particularly care for, regardless of context.

So don’t let me try to tell anybody what to do. It’s just a thought that housework and life work will not run away from us, so maybe we could stress ourselves less with the thought of what we ought (ouch!) to do and see it more as something that can be built into the flow of our day. Free time is unfortunately made of different material properties. If we don’t consciously make time for it, it disappears like a rainbow.

And if you have 3 minutes and 30 seconds of free time, here’s a beautiful rainbow for you! Enjoy!


Entry filed under: free time, housework, life, Soul Food. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. SanityFound  |  May 7, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    Wow, how true is that! So often we stress and stress that in the end its more than its worth instead of just taking it step by step – absolutely beautiful! Going to remember the lessons in here and keep them close to my heart 🙂 Thanks for sharing… I see a title for the second book 😉

  • 2. diaryofarecoveredbulimic  |  May 7, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    Thank YOU for inspiring!!

  • 3. SanityFound  |  May 7, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    😀 goes hand in hand, you have inspired me as well


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