I am not a fan of cleanliness. Our family rarely had a clean house, since we had a small apartment with parents, three kids, and a dog. Any cleaning would come to naught in a few hours. I remember feeling uncomfortable at times when friends came over. Especially those whose homes were models of cleanliness and order.
When I grew up, I started renting my own place. They were mostly studios. I figured that small apartments were easier to clean and keep perfectly clean. But how wrong I was. Even my own little cubbyhole I never learned how to keep neat. Maybe it was the broken windows effect, or maybe I was just a lazy wreck.
Later I bought an apartment and lived alone for a while. That was the realm of minimalism. No junk, only the essentials. And then women came along with their stuff and the irritating factors became a million times more. And I realized – it’s not mine.
Despite all my good points, my life was more like chaos. And I suffered all the time that I could not meet my criteria. In those days I operated with black and white categories. Order is good, disorder is bad. And it had to do with everything.
I noticed that a lot of women looked like freshly made, their workplaces were always clean and tidy, but their homes and cars were just dirty and a mess. Once I met one and she drove me home. Not a speck on her clothes, she was well-groomed, but in the car there was a banana smeared on the seat, a bunch of crumpled boxes from McDonald’s, receipts on the floor and lemonade bottles. I’m sure you’ve seen things like this before.
When I realized that my perfectionism was seriously complicating my life, that I could not be perfect, and that the world around me did not meet my criteria, I began to study the problem better.
It turned out that people who have perfect order everywhere are less healthy from a psychological point of view. Any speck of dust can cause neurosis. And they are constantly cleaning, washing, wiping. And I myself was even worse, because I felt this irritation, and I could not force myself to clean all the time. I remembered, those guys from my childhood, who were perfectly dressed by their mothers, supplied with perfect instructions and perfectly supervised.
And one day I met a woman like that. She was just a queen of order. Everything in the house became like in the army: sterile, smooth, and outrageously clean.
That’s when I realized it was better to live in a mess. Women will blow your mind, but these ones are a mess. It’s always wrong. Life by a thread. Go to the bathroom, and there’s already running with a brush and a remedy. Constant control over everything. In two days I found out all the women at my work and those who are a danger to her.
Yeah, I didn’t last long. But I asked myself:
- Why do I need such an order?
- Is this what I really need?
My ideals have changed somewhat since then. Healthy people have little steam in life and act from what they think is right, not driven by their neurosis or guilt.
Ideally, find one where both views are aligned and orderly, but without fanaticism. Again, ideally. 🙂 You clean up every other day and don’t worry about a speck of dust somewhere.
Perhaps I have this type of personality which is determined by genetics or upbringing and then it’s very hard to change yourself. That people must have to adapt to this. And adapt to the wisdom is probably that the world is not really black and white. And our ideas of the ideal are just ours.
But I’ve never learned to accept the mess, it’s annoying. But there’s a little bonus to it. When I’m feeling annoyed or anxious about something else, twenty minutes of cleaning brings me to a state of peace of mind. More effective than meditation, exercise, or other techniques.
And the main skill is not the ability to put things in order, but in the ability to negotiate and build. My wife, fortunately, has it much better developed than I do!