When I was 10, Shirley Conran, the English writer, wrote a book called Superwoman published in 1975, and in this the wonderful phrase was coined... "life is too short to stuff a mushroom". I've been pondering on this since as recently, as one of my jobs in my new role as a housekeeper in a castle, has involved making perfect hospital corners. Well, as try as I might, even with a diagram, I cannot master this seemingly simple task. Last week, this rendered me tearful, in need of more than a few glasses of Sauvignon with heightening anxiety levels and my personal and internal "I'm so stupid" button being pressed so much my fingers hurt.
It's strange, as I sit here typing on my new sofa, that, as a housekeeper, I don't keep "house" in my own house too well. Earlier, I wiped down my kitchen cupboards and cleared the crumbs off the floor, constant dog detritus that needs doing on daily basis but always gets left till last. At least my constantly scavenging terriers Barney and Timmy know that there is always a bit of a ready meal on the floor if they are still hungry!
I don't keep "house" very well in my mind either. Filled with useless information that occasionally might be useful in a pub quiz, I juggle this relative randomness, with to do lists as long as the little penguin's in the current British Gas adverts. So what do I try and do now to help myself? I leave the fridge to stay cool and crazy with its menagerie of weird and wonderful contents - past-its-sell-by-date Stork, French violet syrup and courgette chutney to name but a few and I take the dogs out for a walk.
What am I trying to say through all of this? That life is really too short to worry about how clean your house is... and does it really matter if you can't master a hospital corner? I can't and I doubt I ever will and do I care – not really (compared with last week!) I have other meaningful talents and I am worthy of feeling good about myself. I can find a use for the courgette chutney which is an acquired taste to my mind (add it to soup) and add the syrup to some prosecco... I do think however the Stork will be binned soon.
I reckon we all need to have a good clear out in our houses and our minds, ready for fresh challenges, new starts and most importantly of all, to make space to enjoy the things we love doing and for practicing kindness to ourselves on a regular basis. After all, if we don't start this process, who else is going to do it for us? I intend this year to fully forget the hospital corners and perfection, hang up my hang-ups on the nearest hook and go out and enjoy life.
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