Stop Running, Start Cleaning!
My first post of 2019, alhamdulillah!
As I sat working on this blog which, I admit, I have neglected for a while (thank you college assignments, family weddings, end of year commitments) I thought I would share with you some insights I had a little while back.
Someone very near and dear to us had left to go abroad for six months and she left her flat’s keys with us. This was in case we needed anything from her home in her absence and also because she was a little afraid she would lose them in the trans-Atlantic flight.
We had told her we would drop in once in a while to tidy up. We never got around to it.
So now she was coming home and you can imagine the state of her house. To say it was dusty and cobwebby is an understatement. There were things on her carpet that I did not recognise. The air in the flat was musty and everything smelled of damp and mothballs.
A crow had built a nest-literally- on her window. The curtains looked tired and faded. Her bedroom clock had stopped working. Her pantry was full of things way past their expiry date.
We got to work and before long we were sweaty and dusty ourselves. Then, after what seemed a long while the rooms started to take shape; the air felt fresher and we could see through the now clean window panes.
We probably should not have left it too late or too long before we tackled the cleaning.
I realised that such are we humans. We put off clearing our closets and organising our pantries. The same way we bury our heads and pretend all is well in our lives when it is not. We make promises that we will take care of that nagging issue we have as soon as we are done with paying the bills or after Eid or once our child is back in school.
We refuse to face the fact when the batteries have run out on our relationship clocks.
We will not work on our goals or on our lives little by little till we make progress. We do not want to break our ‘musts’ into bite sized chunks (Like cleaning a little everyday) but believe we can handle it all in one go.
In the meantime, we go through life asking ourselves if this is all there is.
We can change overnight- we believe- and everyone else had better change right along with us.
We believe we can throw out-cold turkey- what no longer serves us; that we can magically push a button or flip a switch and everything will be fine.
Life changing habits are not learned overnight much the same way six months of dust cannot be gotten rid of properly in a few short hours. Tough decisions need to be made when they need to be made or else they mutate into excruciating decisions.
Life cannot be shut up and shut out for half a year and then taken out to be lived again. You look life- and its challenges- squarely in the face. You attack it like cleaning! with the proper tools. Honesty with yourself and others. Consistency. Courage. Grit. And yes, even a little healthy fear.
The brooms to sweep away the dust that has settled on certain corners of your relationships; cleaners and mops to gain clarity and direction. Some furniture polish to add lustre to tired…..furniture? CVs? Work life balance?
Possibly bug spray to cut yourself loose from the toxic people in your life.
Whatever it is, you will know. The key is to do something about it each day however miniscule the action. The phrase is clean it up!