Tidy Home Tidy Mind

It is no secret that I have extreme levels of anxiety. Alas. I get by on the day to day but there is a bonafide way to make me feel in control of my environment. And this, my friends, is tidying up.

Typically, my pattern is that I will not care too much about the clothes I’ve tossed onto our bedroom floor or the stray few hairs on the sink from the weekly occurrence of me brushing my hair. (It’s curly, okay…. curly hair doesn’t need to be brushed as much. At least mine doesn’t).  And then, all of a sudden, I CARE SO MUCH. Hence our room or apartment or wherever has two modes: 1) my stuff is pretty messy or 2) my stuff is perfectly put away and I’ve scrubbed the bathroom top to bottom. And, if you are of this enlightened inclination, this doesn’t have anything to do with gender roles or expectations in my house. Mike is helpful with housework and certainly doesn’t expect me to do it all. However, I am the person in our relationship who tends to like things tidier, so it all pans out. If I suddenly want everything put away and not  a stray sock on the floor, I am happy to pick it up.

Does anyone else feel this way? I feel like I can exhale after finally tiding up, dusting, vacuuming, etc. Maybe this is because one of the reasons things go by the wayside that  would prefer to keep appropriately cleaned up (like the sweatshirt I take off or my pj’s etc. etc.) is because I am particularly busy during that time. Then, when I am not running in a deep panic, I clean up and feel generally relieved about my current state of affairs.

In an attempt to find some middle ground, I want to try to work a few things into my daily routine that keep our space from becoming out of control. Here are a few things I have found helpful:

  • Before bed, clean up the kitchen. Wipe down counters, make sure all dishes are loaded and start the dishwasher. Wipe up spills on the stove. Sweep. Feel joyful that when you come downstairs in the morning, you will be greeted by a clean kitchen.
  • Make the bed in the morning. We are still working on this one. It’s difficult because Sam the dog likes to paw around in the sheets, etc. so bed making is a “strip the bed and remake it” activity every morning. Gone are the days when we could throw the sheet and comforter up from the foot of the bed and it looked decent. Thank you, small Boston Terrier, for throwing our sheet on the floor and moving the comforter 90 degrees every night without fail.
  • Put your clothes either into the drawer from whence they came or the hamper when you take them off.  WHY IS THIS SUCH A STRUGGLE?! Flat spaces and chairs in bedrooms should be banned. We all know clothing with likely pile up on them. Let’s just end the charade. (But how?!)
  • Sprinkle baking soda everywhere and roll in it for good luck. (This isn’t actually a thing but it probably could be. Cheap, full body microdermabrasion, anyone?!)

Are there any small, daily things people could recommend to help me stop with the random bouts of manic cleaning?

 

 

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The Terrifying Hobby Horse

I’ve always been a little leery when someone asks me about my hobbies. I just don’t know what to say. It isn’t that I don’t have interests. I do. But how do you explain broad areas of interest to people you barely know. People are more interested in something concrete like “what-you-do-for-fun” than you liking to get coffee with friends or your penchant for true crime TV. What even counts as a “hobby”? Can I include wondering what food I will eat next, purveying Netflix for good shows I haven’t watched, researching how to get rid of extreme anxiety?! No…Okay then.

I once had an interesting date with a guy I met online (who happened to have dated a friend of a friend who he later discovered was a lesbian… is this awkward enough yet?!) who ONLY wanted to talk about HIS hobbies. Occasionally, he would ask about my thoughts on whatever category of thing HE was talking about. But even that didn’t interest him much. Example:

Hobby man: “… so that’s why I really have always loved baseball. What is YOUR favorite sport?!”

Me: “Well, I’m not a huge sports fan, but I like to play basketball and enjoy watching football.”

Hobby man: “OH GOD. I HATE basketball. I do martial arts though….”

Me: “Oh, really?! I did Taekwondo for a year when I was a kid.”

Hobby man: “Taekwondo is a weak marshal art. It looks good on paper, but is ineffective in real life.”

Me: “Oh. Okay… Like communism?”

I tossed in the towel and decided to go the humor route with this man of many hobbies. This coincidentally was also a man who I did not go on a second date with. I envy only his staunch sense of what he likes (and DOES NOT like) to do.

It’s not bad to have hobbies. I think it’s great. I just have no idea what to say my hobby is. Many of the things I care about and spend my time on are not immediately tangible. Furthermore, I’m afraid of people assuming I am an avid connoisseur of whatever it is I casually mention I like doing.

I don’t like telling people I enjoy jogging, reading and doing yoga because the truth is I like to do these things (meaning even have time to do these things) a couple of days a week. I don’t want to risk being classified as a “runner” or a “yogi.” With that might come any combination of the following:

1) Forever being asked about that hobby in social situations and/or getting gifts related to that activity for the next twenty years

2) Possible judgment (such as, “she isn’t thin enough to be a runner” or “she said she likes to read but when I ask what she is reading she doesn’t have new book suggestions”)

3) People thinking you should do that activity with them to bond, but they are actually way more into it than you and it gets awkward fast (jogging with someone training for a half marathon, an advanced hot yoga class, etc.).

Let it be known, I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR PERFECTION, PEOPLE.

Anyway, I am trying to incorporate more of the things that nurture my soul (cooking, talking to friends, playing games with my family, walking Sammy the dog, exercising, crocheting, etc.) into my days. However, I still will probably stare blankly at people when they ask “what do you like to do for fun?” I’d rather they talk about anything else. ANYTHING. The Loch Ness Monster. Big foot. Anime. Video games. My Little Pony. Because, if you really want to know me, just listen to what I say about the topics you choose to discuss. I’m cool with it. You’ll quickly find out I just liking talking to people and occasionally doing other things.

I’m TERRIFIED of the hobby horse.