Life Is Like A Pile of Laundry

A white polar bear is boring

A white polar bear is boring

I spent New Year’s Day conquering the worst of my feral laundry mountain. The five loads of muddy clothes and pyjamas and the three-foot high ironing basket. It wasn’t so bad. I watched the Cinderella DVD my gorgeous daughter asked Father Christmas to bring for me (unbeknownst to me). I had an excuse not to fall asleep on the sofa or play yet another board game or strain my thumbs mining for diamonds.

We had a mooching home-based Christmas this year, full of TV, Minecraft, and colouring. Trapped in by the endless rain, it’s been unexciting, but restful.

I jokingly put on Facebook today that I was starting the year as it would go on – fighting an endless losing battle with dirty clothes. A relative said, ‘oh no,’ I should be curled on the sofa with a Bailies and a mince pie.

There have been plenty of both this holiday – I’m quite proud of my mince-pie belly. I hosted Christmas Day and made a dozen mince pies, forgetting (or not) that I’m the only one who likes them. And we won’t even mention the giant Christmas Cake I’m eating single-handed, accompanied by endless slices of apple and cheese.

Christmas colouring

Christmas colouring

It occurred to me, as I contemplated my remaining one-foot high ironing basket and the two feet of folded clothes on the tumble-dryer this evening, that laundry is a good analogy for life. I live for the day I’ll reach the bottom of the washing hamper or the ironing basket, but the only way it would happen would be if I was alone. My perfect laundry-life can’t ever exist, unless we all live naked or not at all.

We spend so much time in life waiting for the perfect – perfect job, perfect house (or even vaguely tidy kitchen table), perfect car, husband, kids. The day the kids listen or put their shoes on at first time of asking. The book deal, best seller, movie rights (that might just be me!), the perfect night’s sleep or skinny body.

This January we’ll beat ourselves up with resolutions to become the perfect us. Because then, just maybe, we’ll find perfect happiness.

But it’s a con.

We’ll never find – and keep – the perfect, just as I’ll never ever finish the laundry. Because life isn’t static. Perfection is for a moment only. To aim for anything else is to invite a life of disappointment. If we strive for the thing to make us happy, we’ll miss happy in the striving.

Still in Christmas PJs

Still in Christmas PJs

It isn’t reaching the perfect empty laundry basket that made me happy today – I didn’t get close. What made me happy was the doing. Watching a lovely movie with my kids while bringing order to chaos. Achieving something. Working hard. Getting stuck in.

It’s a cliché that life is the journey not the destination, but clichés are born in truth. Running will make you happy; striving for the perfect body probably won’t. Writing and creating will bring satisfaction;, longing to be the next J K Rowling will not.

So this year my resolution, as I approach my Zero Fs Forties, is to remember happiness is there for me to grab every day, not to strive for in a futile quest for perfection.

And there will always be ironing, but that’s okay, because it means life is moving on.

5 thoughts on “Life Is Like A Pile of Laundry

  1. Spot on. I’m firmly convinced that the art of being happy is about a simple change in perspective. We are taught to achieve in world/career terms and we do seem to spend a lot of time chasing impossible goals when what we should be doing is appreciating the amazing things we do have and looking at how far we have come – which is often, a lot further than we think. It’s all about perspective and I read somewhere, a few days ago, that research shows that people who take the time to be thankful and grateful are often much happier and more content than those who don’t. Another win for CBT I guess. We hared about the country like nutters this Christmas as we have two sets of elderly parents who are too doddery and old to come to us.

    Frankly, I dreaded it beforehand but I am really glad, now, that we did because we had great fun when we got there AND I now have that added frisson of after-event smugness because it occurred to me that I could feel happy about having done the right thing. 😉 IT was the same with the book launch, it went well, much better than the previous one, but I still caught myself hoping for more. 😉

    Have a great New Year and may all that is fine and wonderful come to you and yours.



    • The new book looks great. I’ve figured there’s no rhyme or reason to what takes. I’ve sold paper copies of my kids books with no promo at all, but I can’t give copies of my adult kindle books away…

      I’ve been coaching the kids in career choice – enjoy your job + shit pay vs hate your job + flash house and car!! Lol

      • Thanks re book and that’s the eternal question of life, right?! I think the ideal is a shit job for a couple of years and then when a bit of a cash pod is earned, you can do what you like… although I never managed that, myself. 😉 I did have two never ever have to think about money years, though. That was fun. 😉

  2. Sorry that was nonsensical. I mean that I hoped the book launch would go better but was heartened when I looked at the stats for the last one! It’s worth a look back sometimes.

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