What is quick? Can you quantify it? If I told you that I was going to make a life change and do it quickly what timeframe would you be thinking about? When I was reading Mari Kondo’s book she kept talking about how you don’t really want to do tidying slowly. If you do it once thoroughly and immediately you will have better results than if you follow other advice about tidying one thing a day or even one room a week.
As I read the early chapters and felt my stress and anxiety increasing. I thought to myself, I don’t have the time to take two weeks off work and go through every item I own and decide what to keep and what to discard! Immediate isn’t feasible. Neither is swift. I kept on reading, however. Thinking to myself; how I could dedicate part of my weekends and maybe a weeknight or two to this endeavor? Wondering if would I not get things done right, or would I make mistakes?
Then subtly, almost as an afterthought, she mentions that her average client takes six months to tidy their home.
That’s not IMMEDIATE!
That’s not SWIFT!
Those were my first thoughts. But then an even more powerful thought struck me, six months? I could do that. That is reasonable. I could still have a life and I could still work on other priorities.
It doesn’t have to be a marathon. I don’t have to work at this until I am done. But she said quickly. She said swiftly. Does she just not know what those words mean?
I was this crazy bundle of joyous relief that the anxiety and pressure that had been mounting each time she said to do things all at once wasn’t going to be as terrible as I had thought. At the same time, I was indignant- doesn’t she know what she is talking about? Use a dictionary, don’t say one thing but mean another.
I kept reading.
Sometime later I was thinking. Because for me tidying is about much more than a clean house. I was looking to change my life, improve it, create more joy, and have more meaning to it. That’s a tall order. That’s not going to happen quickly. Even if I spent all my time doing it, it wouldn’t happen in two weeks or even a month. Also, changes that take place in a vacuum separate from daily life are unlikely to be sustainable changes with lasting impacts.
I feel a sense of urgency. Part of that feeling comes from this newness. Some if this urgency is riding off my early success. A lot of it has to do with momentum. I’ve gone through self-improvement kicks in the past and they all eventually fizzled out.
I need to remember that six months or even a year is quick for a life change. Compared to the 80-100 years that I expect to be around it’s hardly any time at all. When I look back on the semester I spent abroad it did, indeed, pass by quickly.
I have a friend who once said something like, “It takes nine months to bring a baby into the world, give any big transition just as long.”
If you are in it for the long run, if you are in it for real change, quick doesn’t mean the same thing it does when you are about to have friends over for hamburgers on the grill and you realize you are out of ketchup and you have to go pick some up quick.
I want to be in this for the long run. I want life change and sustainability. So, I will be doing this swiftly and all at once. It just might not be considered quick to the average American eye.