All I Really Need to Know…

… I learned from ignoring the chaos in everything but the kitchen sink.

Hmmm. That might not be how that saying goes.

But it’s how I’m feeling today.

(Originally posted January 18, 2011 on blogspot.)

I’ve been keeping that sink shiny for a few days. And here’s what I’m learning so far.

*Clean can spread just like dirty does. My clean has spread out across the counter, over the refrigerator (inside and out) and wrapped around to include the stove. But I keep going back to that sink as a home base. Which brings me to…

*It matters that it’s the kitchen sink. This is not random. I didn’t get that before. I can’t do the dishes if the sink isn’t clean. And if I’m going to clean the kitchen, I’m obviously going to do some dishes. And it feels silly to spend money on groceries and put them into a cluttered, dirty refrigerator. I won’t be able to see what I have. And in order to clean out the refrigerator, I’ll be… washing some dishes.

*Baby steps are smaller than I thought. I am an accomplished woman. I’m highly educated. I look at my CV, and I’m impressed with myself. I am often a leader among women, and sometimes among men if they can get over themselves for two seconds. But “jump in wherever you are” doesn’t mean what I thought it meant. I always interpreted it as “start today doing the routines you’ve already established for yourself.” Which is fine. If I am healthy. But when I’m not, those routines are far too overwhelming, and I just give up. It’s not “jump in where the routines are.” It’s “jump in where YOU are.” And where I am is, frankly, dealing with a chronic disease that happens to be flaring up right now. I can’t look at a day’s-worth of routines. But I can look at the top shelf of the refrigerator. And after that, I might be able to look at the next shelf. And if I can’t, I’ll do it tomorrow and celebrate that really clean top shelf.

*Baby steps lead to more baby steps. I’ll probably be able to look at that next shelf. Because the one thing I need in dealing with depression is to feel good about myself. In the past few days, I’ve looked at a few career things that I’ve been ignoring for a while. (Obviously I am ready to take the performing arts education world by storm, as I have a clean sink. I’m thinking of adding THAT to my CV.) And of course, dealing with things in my career, a place where I’ve had success… makes me feel better about myself. And just like that, another refrigerator shelf is clean.

*Sometimes I need to put the blinders on. I’m writing all of this from a living room that is an absolute disaster. Anyone with a toddler knows that this can happen pretty quickly, but it’s been like this for days. If I were at my healthiest, I would jump in and get it done. But that’s not where I am this week. Instead, I need to remind myself that the clean has spread. And eventually, it will spread to the living room. And I need to be nice to myself, and celebrate the victories, no matter how small.

*I have learned these lessons over and over, and will have to learn them again in the future. That’s why it’s called chronic. It keeps happening. And I need to be patient about that.

Reminding you, once again, that these are Flylady’s ideas. www.flylady.com 🙂

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