A Sign of a Wasted Life

Sometimes in my work, people welcome me into their house. Without fail, they immediately apologize for the perceived uncleanliness of their home. Whenever this comes up (which is quite often) I share my motto with them: “A clean house is a sign of a wasted life.”

I mean it as an objective truth, not as a soothing balm to a ruffled conscience.

Life is messy.

It is not tidy, and it will not slow down for a moment to give you time to clean up after yourself. Life has dirty fingerprint smears around the edges and dust bunnies in the corners. It’s this way because a life well lived causes activity and merriment to bubble up and over the brim of our lives, like Mentos™ in Diet Coke™.

On the rare occasion that someone welcome me into a truly spotless house behind a perfectly manicured lawn, I cringe a little with unfair judgmental thoughts. I know the person has nothing better to do with their life than sit around and catch dust as it settles.

A clean house is a sign of a wasted life.

We don’t need to be ashamed of areas of our life that are not completely presentable. They only show that we’ve been a couple of times around the block and haven’t had the time or opportunity to take care of things yet.

The end.

Okay, not really.

Wouldn’t it be nice if blanket statements and ideas could be stated universally without contradiction? As I’ve grown older and (slightly) more mature, I’ve learned that the truth of things is more like a mixture of gray tones between two binary absolutes.

Sometimes, it pays to be tidy.

As much as I hate to admit it, the functioning of the mind sometimes must rely upon the state of the body. Haven’t you ever noticed how that you can’t think unless your clean laundry is folded?


Me neither, but I hear it happens to some people.

Here’s a more concrete example: When women are in the last stages of their pregnancy, they feel the desire to clean and organize their home space. It’s a desire to create a clean space for the baby to wreck.

I’ve never pushed a baby out of my body, but I have excreted the remains of a solid five pounds of pulled pork out of my body, so I can relate a little, but that’s a tale for another day (hopefully never).

Authors go through this nesting instinct too.

Speaking personally, I have had a story in mind for a long time, and it’s been slowly bubbling in my mind, and I think it’s finally ready for birth. Sure enough, I’ve tidied up my home space. I need a clean physical space to symbolize the clearing of my mind, to ready it for the excess work to come.

It’s time to see if this story can hold its own weight.

I’m ready to write.

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