I used to be a truly serious housekeeper. Not a speck of dirt or dust anywhere, at least, not where anyone would ever see it. I used to wash all the dishes as soon as they landed in the sink; washed, dried and put away on the spot. I use to march downstairs twice a day to scoop the litter box. (That’s important when you have six cats.) And I used to do laundry every day, as long as I was downstairs. I even ironed clothes back in those days. The bedsheets got changed once a week, I went through vacuum cleaner bags at a furious rate, and I replaced the Pledge at least once every month. I cleaned the bathroom sink every morning before I went to work, and cleaned the toilet at night after everyone had gone to bed.
That was then; this is now. For a while now, I’ve been unable to scrub the bathtub, climb up on chairs to dust anything taller than 5’2″, or run up and down the stairs to scoop the poop or do laundry regularly. And cat hair. There is cat hair everywhere. It’s just not possible to keep up with everything. I still despise dirty dishes in the sink, but sometimes, I just don’t have the energy to stand at the sink and wash them, let alone dry them and put them away. Just the other day, I vacuumed the bathroom floor to pick up all the cat hair and my long grey strands. Though the bathroom is the size of a small closet, my back muscles gave out halfway through. I had to rest before I could finish, so I sat down and read for a little while.
Sometimes, you just have to let go of some of the things you thought were so important to concentrate on those that truly are. Getting enough rest, remembering to eat according to schedule to avoid blood sugar issues, getting the paying jobs done before your energy is sapped: these are important. Visiting with family and friends, playing with the cats, capturing the beauty of nature with a photograph when you have the energy, pursuing creative expression in the arts, reading a good book: these are far more important to me than a spotless house.
I used to hesitate to invite anyone over because I worried so hard about the state of my perceived dirty house. No more. Now I figure that anyone who comes here and doesn’t like it can leave. (It’s small enough to find the door without any help.) Don’t get me wrong. Most people who come here seem perfectly comfortable. (My mother would not have been. She was not at all fond of cats.) Maybe everyone else is a bigger slob that I’ve become. Maybe they’re lazy, or maybe they’ve discovered that there are many more important things in life than a spotless house.
Just the same, I am most appreciative of my friend who scoured the bathroom today and ran the Swiffer duster over the hardwood floors, took out the trash and asked me how to change the litter boxes so I wouldn’t have to. Where I used to have a great deal of difficulty accepting help, I now gratefully accept any and all offers that will allow me to conserve my energies for other endeavors. So, here’s to my friends who step up to the plate when I’m benched for the game. I love and appreciate you more than you can imagine.