Before I moved to The Cave, I was a slob. I had piles of papers on my desk and one or two half-full bottles of water that may have been there for a while. A basket of clothes needing to be folded and put away sometimes sat on the floor for more than a couple of days. If the clothes basket was not on the floor and you dared to open my closet or armoire, you would have seen piles of unhung or unfolded clothes. It was not pretty and, while I wasn’t proud of it, I also wasn’t making much of an effort to change my untidy habits. If I were to appear in a production of The Odd Couple, I would have done both Walter Matthau and Jack Klugman proud in the role of Oscar Madison.
But not anymore. I am starting to clean up my act.
The clean-up began in the spring. In preparation for the renovations, I had to “gut” my bedroom and bathroom and box up most of my possessions, taking only the bare minimum to The Cave. This was a painful process. “Stuff” had been building up in my space for years and this was an opportunity to do a massive clean-up and start fresh. I had to face my mess. Oh, joy. I cleaned a drawer here and there and then found out that the renovations in my bathroom were starting a couple of days after Memorial Day.
So, in tandem with my parents putting together shelving, setting up a nifty, makeshift clothing rack and moving items down to The Cave, I spent most of Memorial Day cleaning out the rest of the drawers, the closet and the armoire, donating or throwing out whatever I could and boxing up the rest. It was a massive purge and I hated every moment of it. In the interest of full disclosure, there are still bags of old paperwork in the bottom of my closet that I have yet to go through when I move back upstairs.
There is something transformational about moving into renovated rooms. This is a first for me as an adult. I have never had a completely new space. Because it’s pristine, I want to honor it and keep it that way for as long as possible. I’m not saying that I have done an complete turnaround. I am no Felix Unger and I never will be. Thank God. But I have done my best to keep The Cave tidy and, with the laundry room a few feet away, I have developed a new appreciation for doing laundry and have offered to do the rest of the family’s laundry as well. Folding laundry, which I used to hate, has now become a form of meditation for me. That sounds weird and geeky as I sit here typing it. I can’t even fully explain the experience yet, but it’s true.
As if that wasn’t enough, this whole “cleaning up my act thing” has spilled over into another area of my life (and I am not going to apologize for phrasing it that way). After spending that last two and a half months in this beautiful space, it became painfully obvious to me that not only did I need to clean up my surroundings, I had some major work to do on myself as well.
I once heard Oprah say, upon moving to her house in Santa Barbara, that she wanted to feel worthy of her beautiful home. I understand that now. I had let myself go and I did not feel worthy of my surroundings. As I mentioned in last week’s blog, TV is just one of my addictions. The other one is food. I am overweight. I will go so far as to say that I had not purchased any new clothes in a while because did not feel I deserved them. Well, since I moved to the cave, I have improved my eating habits and I recently bought a couple of pairs of pants and some shirts. It’s a start.
I am cleaning up my act and it feels good.
For more on my odyssey with food, tune in next week for another episode of LESSONS FROM THE CAVE.