Confession time: I am not a neatnik by nature.
— Well, maybe I am. Maybe I’ve just buried it so deeply that Indiana Jones would have a hard time recovering it. I’m only just having my first bit of luck doing so. After enough “Hoarders” to terrify me, I subscribed to the FlyLady emails, specifically her daily digest.
I tried to craft myself a basic routine based on her lists. I think I may have got a bit ambitious, though.
Earlier this week, I got up, made the bed, got dressed, brushed my teeth, etcetera. Then I set out to take care of the clutter on top of my bookshelf. While I was rolling pennies, I felt faint and could not stand up a second longer. I think I let myself get dehydrated, and it didn’t help that I’d just come off the Bloodening.
I was out of commission the rest of the day.
I didn’t care, in the long run, that I’d bloody well made the bed; I ended up right back in it, wearing pyjamas, and after my nap, my mouth tasted like an old sock. Business as usual. I was only proud that I’d taken care of the clutter, and regretted not being able to do more with my day.
If that’s what I feel like on a modified routine, how am I going to make the whole system work?
If I am going to spend energy on anything these days, I want it to matter. To me, shining the kitchen sink is pointless; the other humans here don’t care about keeping the sink neat unless I ask them to care. Shoes feel like unnecessary weight on my ankles, and that tires me out. I store clogs by the door for my quick jaunts outside and wear slippers indoors. Sometimes I don’t even bother with slippers. I’m used to moving on more or less bare feet. I run faster, I walk longer distances, and I climb higher in trees when I leave off my shoes. Why on earth would I bother with them while doing chores?
But I have read that if I don’t do the steps exactly as they’re listed on the site, I’m setting myself up for failure. Well, when I try to do them right, I seem to fail anyway.
I don’t think FlyLady considered people with ongoing health issues when she put this system together.
I think, for a lot of us, up and out of bed is an achievement all by itself. I’m no use to anyone, myself included, if I finish a load of dishes and conk out or have to go soak because I’m so sore. (Not to mention we’ve got an oldish hot water heater, and a hot bath just would not be happening.) Up and mentally here, as opposed to “brain like a flaky, dry yellow sponge mop”, matters. I need to build from there when I consider my priorities. So if I have to lurch downstairs and make tea or eat something before I get any sort of morning routine done, I will do that and to hell with the rules. Does she realize how hideous food tastes right after one brushes one’s teeth? Better to brush them after I’ve used them. And if shoes tire me out, I will not wear shoes.
I am even iffy on the meal planning. In the first place, we live five minutes from the local supermarket and fifteen from a Wegmans. If our house isn’t stocked for what I want, it’s no big deal to hop in my car and go fetch what I need for a recipe. I’m great at sticking to lists, so the problem of buying extras doesn’t apply unless I also notice we’re out of something and I can pick it up. None of us know what we’ll want from day to day. I think my family enjoys the freedom of eating what we please. The last thing I need in my life is a regimented approach to food, God knows. That kind of thing almost killed me; anything resembling it is a trigger. Nein danke.
And there are limits on the time I have, during the day, to do what needs doing. Dishes after about 10pm wakes Dad, whose sleep cycle falls naturally a little earlier than most people’s. Mine, by contrast, falls later by varying amounts. I am most comfortable sleeping between two and noon. This cuts down on the amount of time I do have to clatter around the house, and there’s really no quiet way to do dishes. The time is further reduced on days when I have to go places. Tomorrow, I’ll be at the doctor during prime chore time. If I think of it, I’ll toss a load of laundry in before I leave.
If I want routines, I need to plan them myself and accept that I’ve got to adapt this existing system. I need to be able to do that without feeling like failure — so, essentially, I get to rewrite the whole damn program, because it starts with shining sinks.
I wonder what my version will look like? “Habit 1: Get out of bed” might seem like a joke to you, but to me it’s fundamental.
Any ideas for the next few habits?