December 19, 2006

Time to Clean

I hate to clean, but I need things to be clean. I must admit, I'd much rather someone else clean for me. I had Chris, who came a couple of times each week to clean my house and do laundry, but she had to leave a couple of months ago.

So I've been doing household duties myself for a little while now, and I suppose it isn't all too bad. Like most things, once you get past the initial 5 or 10 minutes that suck, you get in a groove and then everything is easier.

But that has gotten me thinking more about cleaning; and, I realize there are many aspects of my life that need to be cleaned.

So, as I start transitioning to 2007, I have decided to try and clean and eliminate some of the waste from my life.

The easiest and probably most obvious place to start is all of the material waste I have accumulated.

It pains me to admit this, but I have become greedy. Or maybe I always have been greedy, but the last few years I've had the means to flex that greed.

Now there was a time when I was frugal and spendthrift. In college my parents would give me $5 that would last me for weeks (thank God my friends supplied me with endless beer!). My diet staple was rice, for all 3 meals.

In fact, my roommates would laugh at me because my entire diet for months at a time would be rice with a variety of, uhm, well, rather nasty toppings. I had rice with Parmesan cheese added to it, rice with catsup, rice with mustard, even rice with (yes, this is true; and, yes, I laugh at it too) grape jelly.

In medical school I lived with no water, or heat or electricity, for months at a time. I simply had no money, so I learned to adjust and tolerate it.

When I lived in Ann Arbor during residency, I would recycle religiously. As sport, I would try to fit an entire week's worth of trash into 1 small kitchen trash bag. I biked to work when feasible, and my car at the time nearly topped 40 mpg.

But something happened to me when I started making more money, and I think it probably happens to alot of people.

Suddenly the sport of frugality adopted due to the constraint of necessity was replaced by the vice of wastefulness triggered by the possibilities of excess.

The frugal car was replaced by the gas thirsty sport sedan. And soon after, the sport sedan was joined by the Suburban, and then the Suburban was replaced by an even more thirsty LandCruiser.

And the sport sedan for months now has just sat in my driveway, staring at me, constantly reminding me that it is being wasted while I rack up thousands of miles in the SUV at 12 miles/gallon.

I looked in my garage recently. There are 4 wheelers that haven't been ridden in years... There are perfectly functional beds that were replaced just because something else caught my eye. Waste...

In my closets, there are years worth of clothes that are stashed away, the victims of the next season's fashions. Waste...

In my outside storage room, there are two perfectly functional lawnmowers, even though I have been paying someone to mow my lawn. Waste...

In my shoe closet, I have enough shoes to make nearly any woman jealous - I'm talking alot of shoes here. And there are maybe 3 or 4 pair that I've worn in the last 3 months. Waste...

Material waste...

And I shudder to think how much time and energy I have spent to accumulate this waste. And I know that there are better ways I should have spent this time and energy.

So one of my goals for 2007 is to stop accumulating, and to begin shedding the material burdens that have anchored my need for more.

No more. No more waste. No more accumulation.

It's time to focus on necessity... It's time to clean...


Kylie said...

I hear ya too! I haven't accumulated quite as much (yet) but I can see it in my life as well.

2007 the year of clean and simple! :)

ironjenny said...

Aye aye aye. I could really be inspired to match your resolution.
As I look around my pocket-office, peak out to other rooms, I am in the same SUV, I mean boat.