Monday, September 17, 2007

Life-hacking, pt. 43

The latest lesson: Life is a marathon, not a sprint.

I have always been a binge cleaner. That is to say, when I cleaned my house, I did it in binges, scouring the entire place and then forgetting that keeping the place clean meant seeing organization as an ongoing project. I've also been a binge decorator. After moving into a new place, I'd keep the organization and decoration going until I got bored or too busy. Then I'd get distracted and it would take months for me to finish projects--if I ever did.

Almost exactly a year ago, I started to work intensively at cleaning up the shambles my life had become. Taking the view that the state of one's outward environment is a reflection of one's inward state, I also tackled the house intensively. It worked well for a while, until I became swamped and overwhelmed again. That state didn't really end again until I moved into the new house in May.

Since then, I've tried to take the reins again and keep up with the demands of life. (Mind you, no parent finds this easy; for single parents, it is even more complicated; unless you are Mr. Corbett.) Creating an inviting and livable space has also become a concentrated project. The problem is that I am so wrapped into the deadline-driven, binge-work mindset that I forget to finish projects if they aren't easy. The potential result is that the house never really gets settled.

I have, to this end, begun to remind myself that life is a marathon, not a sprint. If I pace myself, the daunting time (when the fuck do I do all of this?) and financial (how can I afford all the little and big things we need?) concerns seem smaller. If I see the organization as an ongoing process, I can take it in manageable spurts; if I see the furniture and other dry good needs as a medium-term process, there is less reason to be frustrated that I'll never be able to afford what I want or need. Taken at that level, one is also liberated to be more creative and flexible while still working toward the goals.