Thursday, September 13, 2012

Clean up and get out

Why is it that I only devote myself to cleaning my room when I know I won't be around much longer to enjoy the cleanliness? Over the weeks of the school year or the summer, I let all of my belongings fly all over the place, forgetting what the meaning of "order" is, until I'm faced with that week long purgatory right before I plan to leave on a long term adventure. By adventure, I mean go back to school. Yes, it's an adventure.

In my room now, the carpet is finally starting to look nice. I've detangled my shoes from the big pile they had turned into in the corner. There are boxes of tchotchkes around the house, meaning the desks and bookcases are starting to look bare and empty where they used to be filled with little items of posterity.

It feels so good to look around and see the kind of living quarters I like having. Because even though I end up being sloppy when I'm stuck in one place for a long time, at heart I am not a sloppy person. I love order. It's just the push toward putting things in order that I often lack.

But this push to reorganize is not about stability and comfort, it's about mobility and letting go, at least for now anyway.

As soon as my room is all clean and tidy, I'll be on my way to London. All those thousands of miles so I can ruin another room with my irreconcilable desire to be clean versus my inability to maintain order. It's this self-perpetuated tragedy which keeps me living out of a suitcase for days even when there's a nice empty closet and set of drawers at my disposal.

What does it take to change this way of life?

I've always found that the best way to keep everything in check, despite having the just-moved-in laziness, is to create routines. At home, my routine is to forget making my bed. But when I realized I hated doing that, I went to college and started making my bed every morning as soon as I woke up. The change was magical.

That's only a small improvement, though. It doesn't fix every problem, of which there are many. But there is no be all end all solution to anything, I guess.

At this point I'm more than freaking out about starting my study abroad experience in London. This is a place I've dreamed of living in for years. I've grown to idolize it in a way that is probably overblown and ridiculous, but when I arrive there on Monday I plan to maintain the same sense of intense amazement that I've had every time I've landed at Heathrow airport.

But out of fear comes great opportunity. The opportunity for starting fresh. Some say this means reinventing yourself. Whether that's to improve your chances of making friends or just become a happier person overall, the lack of preconceived notions helps to make the changes in life that seem difficult when you've already been pigeonholed.

I'm not going to think about making friends right now because that's too frightening a prospect. But I am going to think about some of the little things I can improve that are firmly within my control. Chief among them is order.

Since I am not a backpacker going around Europe, I am not going to live out of a suitcase. But I am also not going to settle down in London like I do when I'm at home in California. I leave this country without knick knacks, just necessities. Without the clutter, just the hope for renewal.

If there's ever a time to clean up and get out of this state of mind, then why not now? I'm leaving the country anyway.

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