I did it. I finally did it! I washed windows yesterday and now I am ready for winter. The dust, the haze, the grime is gone (at least for now) and the sun can come shining through our windows without mocking me.
Have you ever noticed how the sun can take what appears to be a relatively tidy house and show up all of the dust, water marks and grime that you didn't notice on a dark and cloudy day?
I woke up yesterday morning and my knees went weak when I thought of what I expected to do with the day in front of me. I knew the world would not end if I had another wasted day but I was well aware that this beautiful fall weather is not going to last forever. If I wanted clean windows, I had to clean while the cleaning was good.
I opened up every blind in the house and let the sun (try to) shine in and shame me into cleaning. Then I sat down.
I went through my morning paces. I did what I always do, with one important omission. I did not turn on the television.
The TV is my kryptonite. It saps my power and drains my ambition. And I love every moment of it. It is a crazy addiction, but it is what it is.
The television was powerless over me yesterday. Instead of tuning into the Home and Garden Network, I made one more cup of coffee and wrote a letter to my mom. I used to write to her every Sunday. Then it got pushed to a job I tried to squeeze into Monday. Lately I have been forgetting to write on Monday and sending off a page of words written in a panic stricken mode on Tuesday.
The words fell off my fingertips and it felt like old times. I was more "me" than I have been in a long time. One thought led to another and I called my uncle before I wrapped up Mom's letter. We had a nice chat, I came back and finished my letter, then I turned on the radio.
Music energizes me. I barely heard the music yesterday because I started working in the room furthest from the radio and started my mission by turning on the vacuum cleaner.
I was no white tornado. I didn't break any speed records but I just kept moving. I learned one lesson yesterday. It is much more fun cleaning a clean house, than it is cleaning one where there seems to be no end to the dirt, dust and cat hair. If I can just get a handle on the excessive amount of cleaning-not-done, I hope "maintenance" will come naturally.
I sat down at the day's end and revelled in the knowledge that I had done hard things. I cleaned what is (almost) invisible to the naked eye and I felt ever so much better than I would have, had I spent the day in front of the television set.
I woke up this morning and quietly wondered what my priorities would be if life-as-I-knew-it was coming to an end. Would my priorities be house cleaning and maintenance? Or would my to-do list be converted into relationship-building exercises?
I know without a doubt, I would watch less TV and listen to more music. I would write more personal notes and abandon this writing-out-loud gig until I had something worth writing about. I would do more and sit less. I would start taking risks again...
I have sat back and lived a very safe life this past year.
A year ago, at this time, I was in the end-stages of organizing a family reunion and distributing our family's book of memories which had been a big part of the preceding six years. I finished that and was catapulted straight into Christmas projects and letters. I was afraid of what "winter" may bring, so I planned a frivolous trip to see Dancing with the Stars in Las Vegas. Then Mom got sick and my world stopped spinning.
The only way I could push myself out of worrying about the immediate future was to try and plan something with Mom. So I threw out an invitation for her to join me on a trip. Four months after her surgery, we went on that trip. We came home and revelled in the company of family at another family reunion the weekend after that.
My summer holiday was short and sweet this past year. I utilized my time well and spent my time, energy and money on our home which had been sorely neglected the previous six years ("I can't waste my time cleaning when I should be writing a book" was my excuse). But one week of vacation was not enough. I was beyond exhausted. And television won.
My priorities have shifted. I need to focus inward before I can reflect outward and set goals outside of waking up and pushing through another day. I need to take care of what I have before I can look out and wish for anything more. I need clean windows so the sun can shine in no matter how short our days become and how cold it gets.
I need the sun to shine in so I can look out and see what lies beyond these four safe walls. Most of all, I just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other and just move forward. One small step at a time.