Man, I couldn't take a more unflattering picture of myself if I tried. Ignore the stump of an arm/hand there, and focus on the window. 'Kay? You never know when inspiration will strike...sometimes, it's when you're outside, precariously balanced on a stool in yesterday's clothes, pre-shower, washing windows. If you look reeeeeeeal hard, you can see a sleeping kid's feet on the couch. And Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots.
Yesterday was designated "spring-ish" cleaning day around here. My main goal was to wash slipcovers, and to have the kids do some of the bigger jobs they haven't done lately (I'm looking at you, gallery wall and baseboards and doors). Buuuuuuuuuuuut...I'm me. After quiet time, I did the photo a day challenge, which was "out my window." After I did that, and totally enjoyed the view for a minute, I noticed how dirty the curtains behind my desk were (dang cats!). So, I took those down and put them in the washer. And that started a whole chain of events...kitchen curtains and back door curtains were washed--and ironed--and every white curtain in the house came down and went back up clean. While the curtains were in the wash, I cleaned the windows and window sills. By the time I got to the dining room, I noticed something that I couldn't ignore anymore. The inside of the windows was great--but when I looked out the windows, there was dirt on the outside. It felt wrong somehow, to do all that work and still have a view of dirt. So, I packed up my supplies and went outside.
Cleaning outside windows is a whole different endeavor, and I was grateful my Boy wasn't home to see how I balanced on a kitchen stool to wash the high parts instead of fussing with the ladder. I know. But, I'm glad I did it.
Washing windows wasn't on my to-do list yesterday, but it's obviously what I needed to do. I thought a lot about myself and my habits as I cleaned...and a lot of what I thought about isn't the way I want to see myself.
Truth? I'm not a window washer. I've washed windows 2 or 3 times since we've lived in this house (about 19 months)...but in the little green house, I only washed outside windows ONCE in the entire 9 years we lived there. For real.
The thing with windows is, we get so used to looking out of them we stop looking at the window and focus on what's beyond. I'm like that with myself. When something's not working in my heart or my personal life, a lot of times, instead of doing the work, I'll just start looking beyond it. And it stays, and the dirt or whatever piles up. And then when I realize what's going on, I've got a LOT of work to do. On the other hand, if I'd just stay on top of it and do a little at a time, it wouldn't be a big deal at all. So many things in life--and housework--are like that, right?
The kids were inside sleeping when I was outside washing windows, and I could see them as I worked. They probably would have found it creepy to wake up and see me outside the window staring in, but I did a lot of thinking while I watched them sleep. The thing with kids is, they don't know the windows are dirty unless we tell them. Kids are so accepting--whatever you present to them as "normal," they believe is normal. Pretty scary thought, right?
Feeding them junk has become normal.
Eating on the run and in front of the TV? Normal.
Minimal exercise? Or NONE if you're Mommygirl? Normal.
Spending too little time at home and too much time out and about? Normal.
I could go on, but you get the picture. Sometime in the past two years, I just let go and let our lives run on autopilot while I worked and commuted and stressed and decompressed and then did it all over again. Lots of great things have happened in that time, and I don't discount that at all, but I'm talking about habits. How we live, really and truly. And I'd say that for some reason I don't understand, we haven't been living as much as surviving...and living now and again. I want more, for all of us.
Now, I have a choice. I can continue on autopilot or I can do the hard work of cleaning things up and living intentionally. I'd say again, but you know, that implies I've done it well at some point and that's debatable.
Another good lesson? Our windows are clean...but there are still streaks and specks here and there. They won't ever be perfectly clean on my watch, and I'm okay with that. Good enough is good enough sometimes--I can appreciate how clean they are without focusing on the almost-impossible to improve areas. Do you see the fine line there? I do, and it's one I have to walk well with my tendencies. It can't ALL be about clean windows, or living well. Sometimes it's just about enjoying the windows (cat nose spots and all) and living fully in the moment.
I think you and I can both see where my mind and heart are right now...at home, with my family, trying to enjoy and improve at the same time. Looking for that elusive balance of the good enough and better.