Monday, January 21, 2013


There's nothing quite like significant life milestones or periods of extreme stress to shake out all sorts of things you never knew about yourself, or at least all those things you suspected but never wanted to admit to. Being the over-achiever that I am, I decided to roll at least of three of these events into a period of a few short months, and the result has been an avalanche of uninvited self-discovery. (A note to anyone tempted to try writing a thesis, getting married, moving apartments, and graduating all around the same time: It will unleash insanity. Be forewarned.)

Probably the most uninvited of these discoveries: I am a very particular person. 

I think I've suspected this, but I like to masquerade as the happy-go-lucky, go-with-the-flow, laid-back type. Do whatever you want-- I don't care... Oh, that can go anywhere. Routines? Oh, I don't have those. There's nothing like combining your life with another person's to quickly shatter that illusion.

It drives me nuts when people squeeze from the middle of the toothpaste tube instead of the end of it. I really do want the furniture to match. I need at least one hour a day, preferably in the morning, to sit quietly, read, or do something by myself without interruption to preserve my sanity. Dirty dishes need to be in the sink, in the dishwasher, or washed immediately (none of this countertop-lolly-gagging). 

This sort of particularity is actually normal, okay, and even good. Everyone has their own personal quirks that create unique little particularities that make clutter on the coffee table odious or form a tolerance for squash only when it's baked with butter and maple syrup. In fact, if I had to hazard a guess, I would say that most of those happy-go-lucky, laid-back types out there are probably closet people-pleasers like myself. It's not that we don't have particularities, we'd just rather hide them than risk offending others. Of course, such facades can only last so long, and they can crumble in quite ugly ways. Rather, it is best to put away the pretenses and expose one's idiosyncrasies with grace. Some will have to be put away for the time- the dishes may always find their way to the countertop, but better than the kitchen table; the toothpaste tube may always be slightly squished around its waist, but such things will not matter for more than a few moments. Other particularities can be accommodated with ease-- so be it. 

Most of all, I've learned that one must release that false hope that everything will one day be "just so." Right now the house is filled with boxes-- hopefully in a week it will no longer be, but it may never be completely spotless. Lived-in houses rarely are for more than a day or so. Best instead to focus on pursuing the reasonable: a comfortable, inviting place to host friends and family or to simply enjoy now being two together from formerly-autonomous ones. With that I think I can be content.  

1 comment:

  1. There's something about that toothpaste that hits all newlyweds! Part of loving someone is being able to share the things that really bug you and perhaps they will accommodate you, but also having the wisdom to let them go and love their particularities that may be at odds with yours.


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