My M-word for today was inspired by the renovation I’ve been working on in my basement since January. I realized that making a mess – and cleaning it up – is something we are constantly doing and a normal part of our lives – whether we realize it or not. I’m not talking about the really bad decisions that cause some people to create a mess of their lives, but the regular stuff we seem to do day-to-day.
Whether a renovation is big or small, it usually involves making a massive mess before the cleanup begins. Whether it’s ripping out walls and carpet, or cleaning up a cluttered closet, things usually get much worse before they get better.
These messes are self-inflicted with the knowledge and expectation that the end result will be better – more organized, functional, and aesthetically pleasing.
I seem to be a serial renovator. As much as I don’t like the chaos that comes from the process, I feel compelled to start another project not long after the mess of the last one has been softened by memory.
The mess associated with renovations is really just the ongoing activity that follows the mess of moving day. The stacks of boxes everywhere, not being able to find a particular something because it’s packed away in some unknown box, and making the final decision to keep an item or find a place to store it.
With Easter approaching this weekend, I will soon be preparing for our large family dinner. I’m looking forward to my loved ones gathered around, the stories, the laughter and shenanigans that usually result. I also know that guaranteed there will be an epic mess to cleanup. The kitchen counters jammed with dirty pots and dishes, the dining room table with leftover food, and glasses scattered throughout.
This too is self-inflicted and the stuff from which memories are made. The mess associated with Easter is just a variation of all large gatherings whether it’s a birthday, Christmas, or just for fun.
Regardless of how old our children are, the reality – or memory – of the mess associated with their day-to-day life clings to us. The food-encrusted EVERYTHING when they learn to feed themselves, the piles of laundry, and toys scattered in every place imaginable. I remember finding toys under furniture, in the car, in my shoes, and in my purse when I got to work in the mornings.
Teenagers provide their own hellish version of mess – bedrooms that have more in common with toxic waste dumps. These too we somehow manage to survive.
The list of messes we deal with is considerable. The mess in the spring left by a long winter, the mess blowing around on the street when garbage pickup occurs on a windy day, the piles of discarded clothing that accumulates around collection bins in store parking lots …. the list goes on and on.
Life is messy.