Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wishing you a Messy New Year

The laundry I may or may not get to today

My house is something of a wreck right now. Pieces of a half-assembled exercise machine are scattered over the rug in the living room, I've got two piles of old bills and junk mail waiting to be shredded on the table and my kitchen counter is still dusted in flour from the bread I made this morning.

Things are a bit messy, you see, because we've been busy living life around here. With the holidays upon us we've hung lights, put up decorations, watched movies, baked and eaten cookies, exchanged gifts and spent time together, just being a family. When we weren't here at home, or at work, we were out spending time with our extended family and friends, enjoying their company. If having all that means also having a bit of a mess, well, then I think I can live with it.

I think it is funny that men seem to be born with this ability. Left to their own devices, most of them will choose a good time over cleaning any day of the week (unless, of course, you are my ex-husband, in which case cleaning is your idea of a good time). To prove my point I ask you to pick up any history book. Take a look and see, is there ever a chapter in there on how frequently Abe Lincoln dusted? Are there any foot notes detailing whether or not JFK left wet towels on the bathroom floor? How about a mention of whether or not MLK left whiskers in the sink after shaving? No, what we remember about these great men was the content of their characters, their famed oratory and the legacy they left for our country.

Us women, on the other hand, are trained up from birth to spot a mess and clean it up immediately in accordance with traditional gender roles. Even professionally, many women still make a career out of keeping house. Just look at Martha Stewart. While the woman may represent the pinnacle of homemaking, I can't say that I envy her much. Her home may be spotless and beautiful, but she isn't exactly known for her warm, fuzzy or fun side, is she?

Gender roles aside, I'm not suggesting anyone make a practice of living in filth. Far from it! I usually spend a good portion of my weekend on housework as a matter of fact. But I'm also OK with having a mess once in awhile if the mess means I get to spend more time with my family and friends. I doubt anyone will be building a monument to me in Washington DC anytime soon (or ever, for that matter), but I'm going to boldly rank myself right up there with JFK, MLK and good old Honest Abe by hoping that I'll be remembered one day for the memories I made and the impact I made in the lives of others, and not just for how often I ran the vacuum.

My new year's resolution will be to embrace life as it comes this year, in all its glorious, untidy imperfection, welcoming the changes that it brings as opportunities to live more fully. When I look back at the close of 2012 if there were crumbs on my kitchen counter, it will be because I took time to bake cookies with my little ones. If the laundry went unfolded, it will be because I made time to listen to a friend who needed to talk. If I don't get to shredding papers quite as often as I should, it will be because I was fighting for causes I believed in instead.

As we launch ourselves into 2012 tonight on our one-way journey through time I want to wish you a gloriously messy, vibrant new year filled to overflowing with life, love, family and friendship.

1 comment:

  1. You got a new exercise machine! What did you get?

    Certain moments in life are gone once they've past...the way I feel about housework is it will still be there AFTER you go to the gym AFTER the family get sometimes it can wait.

    Although messy house for me is somehow a messy mind, it's a give and take.