Tuesday, 18 August 2009

High maintenance

So, I got back home to the big smoke. Leaving the little ones frolicking on the beach for a few more days @ Grandparents. And when I returned to an unkempt and overgrown and over-dusty and full-of-washing-to-be-done-home, it struck me. This is what occurs when you go away and/or take your foot off the pedal. Maintenance is the key. Meaning, a steady commitment applied on a continuous basis.

Y'know those nice tidy mansions with their perfect lawns and flower beds always in bloom? No cobwebs under the eaves or weeds between the paving stones? (it took only the two weeks for these to take up residence chez moi). Don't be deceived. They take, 'scuse the expression, a shitload of work. A SHITLOAD of gardeners, patio clearers with power washers, cleaners and window polishers. Nothing which looks polished or well-maintained gets or stays that way without constant polishing and maintenance. Not your house, or your car, or, indeed, yourself.

We women know that to look our best takes an ongoing routine of nutrition, exercise, manicures, pedicures, creams, hairdressers, wardrobe and make-up. If you let it slip, it'll show. Forget the just jumped out of bed and look fantastic thang. Save that for the 16-year olds. In fact, post-30, might as well include the guys in this. Because I've seen quite a few examples recently of how men age. Not well, generally, unless they make the effort to catch up with their wives' examples.

And, it's the same with the inner life. Thoughts, state-of-mind, confidence, self-worth; and their progeny: development, learning, improvement, fulfilment, success. It's got to be a daily exercise, castles forged from a daily brick day after day after day. Weeks, months, years. My son has taken less than a year, at age 5, to learn to read at the speed and with the vocabulary of an adult, to learn to read music as well, and to play the violin and recorder to the standard where he can perform tunes, reasonably complicated ones with all sorts of notes and up to 6 or 7 lines long. I know, however, how much effort was involved. A commitment to keeping the practice going almost every day, wherever. There's not been a holiday away where the violin and the reading books haven't come too. And before you brand me a 'pushy parent': it's his choice (if there's not self-motivation, it'll never work. Resentment isn't fertile ground for laying down knowledge or applying oneself to understand new and challenging skills). My son wants to 'be the best' so he can buy himself a Eurofighter jet when he grows up!!!

So, as I slowly but surely realise that there's no lounging to be done in this temporarily child-free house (despite the temptation!), it strikes me again, as it does again and again in life. It's the accumulated effort, applied on a daily basis, that'll put you in a position to win the race; plus, of course, the vision of what you want eventually to achieve. It may be a long way off, but, as Lao Tse (NOT Confucius, despite popular belief) said, a journey of a thousand miles (or even a hundred metres) starts with a single step. I'm sure Usain Bolt, world Champion Record-breaking runner, would agree.


  1. Thats a big ol' motivational speech, to start the housework; I can tell you're keen!
    We have chosen dust and spiders over clean and tidy. I can't get on with anything else, otherwise.
    Make sure you have slutty mates; mates that don't clean, don't iron and go for massages, or pedicures, or holiday with other friends. They will support your cause, back you up, and not come around and bitch about your scuzzy shower, while you're rasping coffee stains off your mugs, in the kitchen.

  2. Well, Sarah, your studio does look rather organised in the photo! But, you've always got an excuse for chaos - it's the arty, 'tres romantique' thing, and selling beautiful works of art over hoovering the house is rather more creatively fulfilling and economically viable!! PS Welcome as my slummy friend anyday - but I don't believe half of it!!!