Yesterday I went into a house-cleaning, organizing frenzy. (Very untypical of me.) I cleaned some very messy kitchen cupboards and half of the drawers in my bathroom. I have to admit I didn’t understand why I felt compelled to do what I have so capably and completely managed to avoid for such a long time.
This morning I realized the motivation behind my actions. There are several things going on in my life right now over which I have no control, starting with what the surgeon will tell us tomorrow about Alex’s back operation and what we can hope for in terms of recovery.
In addition, I have been working for months to convert the content of our CaregiverHelp.com program into an online course that offers continuing education credits for mental health professionals. Every time I think we’re ready to launch, another nit-picky technical issue pops up and delays it by an additional week. I love to create content, but I have no skill when it comes to figuring out the structure and online delivery method. Technical issues that I don’t understand and cannot fix drive me crazy!
Finally, after walking aggressively up and down the steep hills in my neighborhood, I developed some foot problems. Last Wednesday the podiatrist cut out ingrown toenails on both of my big toes and snipped the ligaments in a couple of other toes in an attempt to straighten them out. Walking around with four bandaged toes has sidelined me from doing my daily exercise, which has always been my most effective method of stress relief.
Cleaning cupboards and sorting drawers is probably normal for some people. For me it is an act of desperation. I needed to do something. I needed to control something. I needed to make something happen.
Nothing has changed this morning, so as we continue to wait on the things over which we have no influence, power or control, I’m going to get to work and tackle the rest of the bathroom drawers.
There is a sense of satisfaction that comes from doing something physical. I know I will really enjoy the results when I’m finished, so today I am going to concentrate on finding joy in sorting, pitching, wiping and organizing and hope that getting a little control of my physical environment helps relieve my sense of helplessness and frustrations in the other areas.