Friday, January 25, 2013

Everyday people......really?

I have a confession to make.....every so often (maybe once a month or so) I just go to sleep at night.  What I'm trying to tell you here (and this is so difficult, she says as she bites the middle joint of her index finger in anguish and shame) is that I don't take my make up off, I don't brush my hair and (horror of horrors!) I don't clean my teeth.

Why do I do this and why am I confessing this to the whole world right now?  The answer to the first part is that I think I am a bit of a frustrated rebel.  When I was a teen it was the Sixties.  Rebellion was in the air.  Collectively we were striking out against what we saw as the stuffiness of our World War Two era parents and against the drab and uninspiring Fifties.  Clothes were brighter, music was louder and behavior was more brash and in-your-face.

Like most of my generation I got swept up in it as much as I was able.  I shortened my skirts to the extent that I couldn't bend over if I dropped something and had to sink vertically to the ground while fumbling around blindly with my hand to locate the object.  I outlined my eyes in black, made my lips almost invisibly pale and adopted the let-it-all-hang-out style of dancing.

The trouble with the Sixties was that it left no room for personal rebellion.  Everyone was doing it so why bother on the home front?

So here I am now, fifty years later, and my inner teenage rebel is knocking on the door wanting to come out.  How can I let her have a little revolution?  Why I can flout decent convention and be a bum once in a while.  After all, my husband is the only one who'll know and, if I don't tell him, he probably won't notice.

There is a larger picture however, to all of this which addresses the second part of my question.  Why confess now?  What is the purpose?

The link lies in a realization I had just the other week.  I have been trying to get back into a routine after a couple of months of rehabbing a broken ankle and getting over the flu.  This also coincided with the New Year and the dreaded resolutions.  I told myself I must do some things regularly.  Things like exercising and journaling and meditating and eating well and writing a gratitude list and...and...and.

So I tried.  I really did.  I began with journaling.  Every day for about nine days I wrote religiously in my journal every morning.  I got some good stuff.  This was going to work.  But it didn't.  Around day ten I woke up and something else got my attention.  I went from Very Important Task to Even More Important Task throughout the day.  Journaling was forgotten.  In fact, I didn't remember journaling until around day seventeen.  Uh oh......failed again.

The whole episode got me thinking.  What is this obsession the human race has with being Everyday People?  What is there really that actually needs to be done every single day that nature doesn't take care of all by herself?  The dishes don't have to be washed every day.  They'll still be in the sink on Day 3 and can be taken care of then if we wish or can't stand the smell anymore.  People in most countries in the world do not take a shower every day not only because of water constraints, or the fact that they don't have a shower but because they just don't believe it's necessary.  Growing up in the UK in the fifties we had to light a coal fire in the living room to get hot water so we had a bath once a week whether we needed it or not.  Most days we had what my mother called "an up and a downer" which entailed standing naked in a cold bathroom swabbing oneself down with a wet washcloth and soap, then finishing off with an extra dousing of cold water.  Not quite the enjoyable sensation of a hot shower.

I am now convinced that I am not an Everyday Person.  What a freedom this has been!  I no longer have to chastise myself for not journaling every day or exercising daily or pummeling myself for not reading something spiritual or being grateful on a daily basis.  I am now free to follow my natural rhythm and do what my mind, body and/or spirit dictate.

You might think that this would lead to procrastination at the highest level.  I certainly thought it would.  But here's the I have given myself permission not to beat the everyday drum, I do not need to procrastinate.  I am allowed to do things at my own pace and guess what?  I do.  My Inner Rebel is no longer frustrated and doesn't seem to need to exercise her authority over random issues of personal hygiene.  I am free to be me on another level that I didn't even know existed.

But I still might not take my makeup off at night just once in a while......

1 comment:

  1. I'm totally in your camp. Thanks for articulating it so well.