Sometimes, after a long day at work, working at Vanessa’s, or home with the kids (depending on the day of the week!), I’ll get dinner done, have the kids up in bed “sleeping”, and then I come back down the steps….. to something much like the following disaster zone(s).
So I’m not going to lie, I’m already exhausted by the time I am taking stock of this daily state of affairs, and the last thing I want to do is anything at all to remedy this chaos. And mind you, this is not even the (not pictured) *eternally* messy spots in my house, but just the daily accumulation of mess on the “living” surfaces of our house.
BUT THEN, I turn around in my bedroom and see…… this glorious sight:
Not *every* day, but ALMOST every day, I make a point to make our bed. Why? Because I swear I read in some book or article a while ago, that making the bed every day is a preventative measure against depression. It was something about the act of doing one thing, one single concrete thing that is a check off the to-do list, no matter how small, that resonates in your body and mind as a success, and helps to keep the “good” feelings flowing rather than the “bad”. Just DOING SOMETHING, anything, even when you don’t know what to do, is helping yourself dig out, push on, work through it.
The fact that I can’t find this source any more doesn’t matter, and if this fact is true or not doesn’t really matter either…. it does work for me. After getting down about all the other places I showed here, wanting nothing more than to curl up after an already-long day where I’ve felt like a failure on many occasions, my bed says to me “It’s ok! Look at me! You took the time to do this early this morning, go you! You can do all that other stuff too, and you’ll be ok, really.”
So off I go, for that reason alone, on the merits of some depression study I might have made up… and in an attempt to proactively preserve the precarious balance in my life, I force myself to make a quick pass at those mess places until they are far from perfect, but indeed acceptable. 30 minutes later the house now looks something like this:
These are crazy days, but I know they won’t run at this pace forever. Echoing Christina’s last post, it feels somehow ok that piles are left piled and clothes washed every 3 weeks instead of every weekend. (Co-workers, this may explain some of the bizarre outfits I have worn around the office as of late!) It still feels a certain sort of “living sincerely” to say, This is where I am now, and in this current scenario, THIS represents enough.
Those days when I do SOMETHING, certainly not everything, but something tangible or visible none the less, I feel alright with the rest, the unfinished and the chaotic and the unclear, that I can’t control or change. I haven’t cured Vanessa, my house is not even remotely “company ready” (although I just posted all these pics for the world to see, so I’m not sure that’s a valid expression any more!), and I’m still tired and frustrated and sad and worried and scared. I haven’t worked against any long-term projects, packed healthy snacks for my kids, gotten any exercise time in, watered the plants, clipped coupons, done yoga, or any of the other 8 bazillion things that requires more time and energy than I have.
However, I MADE THE BED, and that somehow is a message to my brain that everything is going to be ok. This is not a complicated cure-all, or the way to find true happiness in life. But it is a surviving, a making-it-through-another-day, a way to sort of autopilot through built-in little successes until life goes to a place where I can focus on the larger things again and work through them. For me, it fits with this part of the pledge:
Accepting the reality that there are circumstances I cannot change,
I will seize my power to actively change that which I can control
with hope and creativity.
They say your house/space is a reflection of yourself… Mine definitely is. I am the junky piles, imperfect and annoying and a reminder that life is hard, crazy, and messy. I am also my bed, a serene and hopeful haven in the midst of the chaos. I am tired, I am worn down, but I am also HOPEFUL. Living sincerely doesn’t mean always being happy, always having boundless energy and enthusiasm, or even always succeeding. It’s also struggling, failing, crying, feeling defeated…. and still keeping on, with hope. Some days seem like too much. But even on those days, I make the bed, and I know I will be ok.