There is too much to do in life.
Here are the general categories of life tasks, in no particular order:
- Chores necessary for the continuation of life: laundry, grocery shopping, food prep, eating, food clean up, taking out the garbage
- Other chores: dusting, vacuuming, organizing, cleaning in general
- Trips and adventures
- Local fun
- Keeping in touch with family and friends
- Rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation
Two more I thought of later:
- Self care: showering, exercising, haircuts, medical issues
Was there a subconscious order to that list? It appears that I listed items by their perceived importance by responsible society. At least, it appears that I listed items by how important some part of me thinks they “should be.”
If so, that is somewhat scary. Hmm, rest and relaxation at the very bottom? Why do my friends and family get shoved off to the end? Why are work and chores so gosh darn important? Why did I totally ignore hobbies and self care in my initial list?
I have another list. This is a list of my roles and responsibilities in life, prioritized according to my values. I update this list at the start of each New Year. I refer to it on a monthly basis to help remind myself of how I should be spending my time. I have three levels to this list. Each level is alphabetical within the level.
- First and foremost I am a: Lover, Person (someone deserving of respect and happiness), Wife
- Next, I am a: Daughter, Friend, Sister
- Lastly, I am a: Business owner, Home owner, Writer
According to this list, happiness and relationships trump work and chores. True, some level of work is necessary to live. We must procure food and shelter, which requires money. But those basic needs can be met more easily than many Americans realize.
I try to live my life according to my prioritized list of roles and responsibilities. That means that I schedule time for my husband, myself, my family and friends. Even when my house is dirty.
With so much to do in life, cleaning house just doesn’t seem that important.
I don’t think I am alone in unconscious valuation of work over fun, family, and self. How do you deal with this issue? Share in the comments below.
Disclaimer: a dirty house can drive me nuts. The cleaning that gets done is in the interest of preserving my sanity. I would love to hire a maid. I hope to do so if our financial situation ever allows. Until that time, I keep reminding myself that I would rather have fun and fond memories than a clean house.
*Photo credit: Allen Goldblatt (Creative Commons)
Kate Meadows says
Yes, cleaning does have to happen to an extent to preserve our sanity and our homes. But you are so right in where your priorities lie. Navigating that balance with kids is especially challenging. I have a magnet that reads, “cleaning the house with kids is like shoveling while it is still snowing.” Better to have a messy house and solid, loving relationships than to have a spotless house and a heart empty of connection.
Astrid Bryce says
You always have such a way with words. I also like your magnet. I’ve always hated shoveling while it is still snowing. I now only do it when it dumps 3 feet over two days. By the way, I think you might be right regarding your blog schedule comment earlier. You are so wise in all things. Hopefully someday I will reach your heights.
Beautifully written, and so true. Work then chores to live then everything else is how we are meant to live, and end up living. It’s sad really.
You know the phrase though “My house is messy enough to be happy, and clean enough to be healthy”!
Astrid Bryce says
Thanks for commenting. I hadn’t heard that phrase. I love it. It is a wonderful statement of “All Things In Moderation”. Maybe I should post that somewhere prominently in my house as inspiration.