Sunday, September 5, 2010

Throw Away the Guilt

I long to be a domestic goddess. I want to bake my bread from scrach, grow my own vegetables, use a sewing machine, and keep my house company ready at all times.

I wish I read more T.S. Elliot. I should exercise more. I need to make a spreadsheet to track my finances. My ER patient yesterday had I diagnosis I have never heard of, I should do some research on that condition.

I have never seen a full episode of Lost, and I want to watch it, but I'm afraid that if I start, I won't leave my house for six months until I have watched every minute of every season on DVD.

Apparenly, the state of my brain matches the state of my closets. And because I could never possibly get all of those things done, the biggest Monster in my head is GUILT.

I'm reading another really great book called The Power of Less by Leo Babauta. I have only just started reading, but he begins with a really powerful concept: we need to do less to accomplish more. It's better to choose a few long term goals and focus on doing things that will bring us toward them than to try to juggle everything that comes our way.

Somewhere in the first 22 pages of this book, Leo made a point that really got me thinking: Sometimes, "Less" means letting others do tasks for you to free up your time to focus on the big picture. He may have been talking about delegating or something, but for me it means this: I can just send my huge ironing pile to the dry cleaner instead leaving it to cause guilt and prevent me from wearing 10% of my wardrobe. I can take my car to be detailed instead of feeling bad that it hasn't been vacuumed or waxed in %&$# months (I can't even admit it here).  I can buy fresh bread from the bakery, have my pants hemmed by a seamstress, and get my vegetables from the grocery store. Because doing these things does not bring me closer to my long-term goals, and only I can get those done.

Along the same line, some of the physical clutter in my house needs to be "delegated" away. I have already taken a step in that direction by getting rid of the books I know I will never read. Tonight  I tossed the embroidery project that I started when I learned that my friend was pregnant (the kid is 3 1/2 now). I have a big pile of untouched scrapbooking supplies that will be posted on Ebay this week (unless someone here wants it- you can have it for free if you post in the comments!). Clothes that fit me in skinnier days are gone already. I will also be getting rid of my unused springform pan. Who needs homemade cheesecake hanging around the house anyway?

When I took those unread books to the used book store, I felt a great sense of relief. Giving myself permission to put the buff, green-thumbed, literary domestic goddess thing on the back burner feels the same way but more.  Last week I wrote down my three big goals for this year: travel more, get the house completely in order, and start my Masters next August. Starting this week I will make my to do list, then do only  that which brings me closer to those three goals. I'll have to finish reading to find out how things like laundry and cleaning the bathroom get done-paying someone else to do everything will really deplete my travel budget!

If you want to read more from Leo, you can check out his blog,

Meanwhile, don't drop by my house unannounced, because it might be pretty messy! Domestic goddess is next year's goal...

1 comment:

  1. as far as the kitchen goes, i've found that amongst my gajillion food blog subscriptions that something will stand out and inspire me enough to create the time to make it.
    and start out with just a few container plants for gardening... maybe next spring, tomatoes are easy and rewarding!


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