Cleaning the house was the 1st on my list of mind-wandering activities but I’ve left it till last to address. And that’s because it’s my biggest weakness. While I’ve promoted it to one of boredom’s finer cousins, the truth is I suspect cleaning might be the most formidable temptation that routinely steps in the way of my ability to get “real things” done.
When I say cleaning, I mean sorting. Scrubbing and sweeping and dusting are part of my pleasure, yes – but nothing tops the sorting of papers and books and receipts and earrings and socks. It’s what I do when I need a break from the world. But cleaning is like a drug. Given the amount I hoard (not a pathological amount, but PLENTY), cleaning can pass as a worthy must-do. And it is — worthy. But never, a must-do. It’s just the way I relax.
If this sounds OCD then I should clarify it’s not about cleanliness (too right yell friends in the know), it’s about a deep-down belief that if my room is tidy then my life’s in order. And it’s always been this way. As a child I spent hours tidying my room. And then when I was finished I often didn’t know what to do so I learnt to make tidying my room not an efficient chore, but a ritualistic process that could go on and on and on and on.
Like combing the beach and taking the train and walking to work, cleaning my room grounds me.
The upside to this … I don’t know is it a disorder? is it all that rare? is that I always know how my life is going. But ironically it’s not whether my belongings are in order, it’s by how many hours I’m prepared to devote to fixing that.