I'm done with my 30-day challenge, which I failed out and out. Except I learned the value of progress and gradual improvements in the course of my failure, so maybe it was a success. That's getting confusing.
The point is, I have been doing things reeeeeeeally gradually. It's turning into a metaphor for personal development, but the gradual things I'm doing are, like, cleaning my house.
Although Martha doesn't live here, I'm not a total slob. I regularly wash my dishes, do laundry, and pick up clutter. I sweep all the time because the puppies shed like crazy. I dust...rarely, because in an hour the puppies bring like the whole back yard in with them. Despite this non-total-slob-bery, my house is pretty dirty. I had rented it to two tenants while I was off getting married and divorced, and they weren't terrible, but they didn't give it much TLC either.
I want it clean. Deep-down clean. And the idea is totally daunting. So, I've been doing Something Odious for 15 minutes every day. I figure eventually the whole house will have been super-duper cleaned, and I bought it 10 years ago, so, you know, once a decade whether it needs it or not.
Currently? I'm in the kitchen. The linoleum has dirt ground into it. It resists mops and toxic chemicals, so I have to actually put hot water and dish soap in a bucket, get down on my knees, and use a scrub brush, like the old days. Then rinse and dry.
THIS IS EXHAUSTING. I would have made a terrible housewife or maid or anything domestic. I scrubbed about a quarter of my kitchen today and it took 30 minutes and my arms were about to fall off and I was thoroughly tired of the whole thing. But I was past my 15-minute limit so I quit. See the difference?
Some people might be bothered by having a now markedly filthy kitchen, in contrast, but not I. No. Because tomorrow I'll do another quarter, and shortly the whole floor will look fabulous. Meanwhile, I look at it metaphorically. If I can clean a house one dark corner at a time, surely I can do that with my insides too. And not be bothered by the lack of instant success.