My kitchen ordinarily serves as a beloved sanctuary of cooking and eating (two of my favorite activities), but it is now in a state of chaos. All of the cabinet doors have been removed, the drawers are empty, and everything’s covered in plastic. This is because my husband is a teacher and currently in summer-break-home-improvement mode. His first task? Beautify the kitchen.
A year ago, such extreme disorder would’ve made my home feel like this:
But back then, life was different. During my lengthy social work career, I found that maintaining a strictly ordered household prevented the despair and volatility so prevalent in my work from contaminating my consciousness. Therefore, I diligently alphabetized the spice cabinet, ensured that all wall hangings were perfectly level, and engaged in a whole host of other uber-anal behaviors, striving to convince myself that there is some predictability in the world.
Since moving away from full-time social work to focus more on writing, I no longer need this stranglehold on order, so I’ve let it go. The results have been entertaining. I regularly leave the house without remembering to put on shoes. I invite people to come visit, then forget all about it until they appear at the door. I arrive at meetings I’m supposed to facilitate only to discover I’ve left all of my materials at home. I drive around with the gas gauge on E and just hope for the best. I show up super late for appointments without offering any apology or explanation (I call this the “I meant to do that” strategy).
And here’s how I feel about all of it:
Really. I’ve found a whole new level of chill in the face of self-imposed disorder. To achieve this happy state, I have had to embrace my inner flake, who never got much air time before now. This has proven to be an adventure, particularly since I’m juggling three part-time jobs these days, and my sole organizational strategy is to write helpful reminders on my hand (then inadvertently wash them off within the hour).
As unbelievable as this would’ve seemed to year-ago me, I’m happy to let my flake flag fly. Current me says boo to rigidity. I strive to be just like this:
(Full disclosure, however: I still alphabetize the spices. It’s just really convenient.)