Keeping Your Balance


I hate messes.

I’ve never liked them. My normal mode of operation means I anticipate oncoming messiness and do everything in my power to prevent it. Or at least I clean up along the way.

If you watch closely, you’ll see a slight twitch in my left eye when the two-year old wipes his chocolate grin onto his sleeve, then walks toward me like he wants a hug.

“Why can’t you loosen up?” I’ve heard this question from friends, family, and my voice in my head. (Everybody has voices in their head…. right?)

So I’ve learned to live with it. I've had to learn there are times when it’s okay to be messy. I’ve even experienced brief moments of delight in being free, sloppy, and actually have enjoyed the wonder of creative chaos.

And how did I arrive at this interesting new compromise? I realized that I’m not perfect.

Did you hear that? I’M NOT PERFECT! *insert maniacal laughter here*

I’m goofy, funny, silly. I forget things. I do crazy things like put my cereal box in the dishwasher. Sometimes I get in the car without my car keys… okay, I do that a lot. I mix up my words like telling my husband I’m going out to buy stuffing stockers during Christmas. (stocking stuffers) I used to change banks when I couldn’t get my check book to balance. I can’t do math in my head.

I’m not perfect.

I used to try. But it's exhausting, futile, and frustrating. I relapse occasionally into my perfectionist dance, panties in a wad, and squeaking when I walk. But life is too short to expend that much energy and time and emotion on something that can never be achieved.

So how does this impact my organizing? I don’t do that perfectly either.

I used to have three calendars, and none of them ever said the same thing. (I finally walked through the learning curve of using Google calendar and life has been different since.) I hate paperwork. I’ve never pursued certification as an organizer. (“Fail” say the voices of my imagined army of organizing competitors …)

I hate dusting but I love doing yard work. Sometimes, I ignore rooms in my house for weeks. On nights like tonight, I know I could have spent time cleaning the bathroom, which desperately needs scouring, but instead I talked with my stepdaughter on the phone, stuffed goodie bags for an upcoming ladies' night, and watched the sci-fi with my husband while eating ice cream out of the carton.

Am I disciplined? Most of the time. Am I organized? Most of the time. Am I messy? Sometimes.

I’ve found a balance that feels good. I give myself permission to not always have it all together. I don't know if I just got weary from the Herculean perfectionistic effort or if I finally got old enough to see the futility.

I was missing out on joy. I didn't have peace. And I didn't like myself... that is, the perceived failed-version of me that inevitably comes when perfection is your goal.

I realized that I'm doing the best I can, all the time. And that's enough.

So my question for you is this: Have you found a balance between messy and organized that keeps you feeling balanced?

My hope for all of us is to keep it real because "real mess" and "mostly organized" is honest. I’d rather be authentic in both than fake my way through either.

Take a breath. Learn what your balance is. And give yourself permission to be "lived-in, a little late, and I'll-clean-that-up-in-the-morning." If you don't take care to find your balance, imbalance will take you out. Not a great option.

Remember this... your version of balance will not look like everyone else's. It's not supposed to. The secret is finding and living your version... then learning to love it!

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