The Case for a Less Than Orderly Life

The Case for a Less Than Orderly LifeThese are the best of times — at least for the moment. I finally was forced to set time aside to complete the Medicare paperwork, so I can check that off my neverending to-do list;

Published February 5, 2016 9:03 PM
3 min read

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PW-edithtThe Case for a Less Than Orderly Life

These are the best of times — at least for the moment. I finally was forced to set time aside to complete the Medicare paperwork, so I can check that off my neverending to-do list;

 

By Robin Jovanovich

P.4-PWThese are the best of times — at least for the moment. I finally was forced to set time aside to complete the Medicare paperwork, so I can check that off my neverending to-do list; my husband is closing in on 12 years as a transplant survivor; if we don’t call the whole thing off before the next issue, he and I will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary; plus, we made the cut and are invited to a pizza party (no food fights allowed) for our grandson, who is turning 2.

All of this brings me to a book that I decided to buy (because it’s sold 3 million copies and because I’m developing hoarder characteristics). I was okay with “the life-changing magic of tidying up,” other than the lower case title, up through page 4 of the Introduction. I even laughed when I read the quote from one of Marie Kondo’s former clients: “Your course taught me to see what I really need and what I don’t. So I got a divorce. Now I feel much happier.”

I felt much happier after I threw this inane how-to across the living room floor. My assessment was that Ms. Kondo needs a reality check, just like many of the people running for President.

Would you want to follow the advice of a woman who writes, “I never tidy my room, because it’s already tidy” and “discard an item if you don’t feel a thrill of joy when you touch it.” Seriously.

Growing up there were plenty of lists taped to my family’s icebox, but there was no quick marital fix for my parents, no matter how many times they got married (think Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton minus the violet eyes and the drinking). The way out for me was creative escape — Nancy Drew, Agatha Christie, and soon on to Grace Metalious and Terry Southern (hard to believe they were part of the Book-of-the-Month Club that my mother subscribed to).

 

“Would you want to follow the advice of a woman who writes, ‘I never tidy my room, because it’s already tidy.’”

I was a reader, before I became a hoarder. And reader, I married a reader. We argue, we go to our corners to figure out where to deliver the next punch but we both still escape from the trials of life with a book. We were both brought up to understand that you never interrupt a person if they are in the middle of a good book.

While many marriages may be doomed to fail, my view is that any smart woman who imbibes the prattle in Kondo’s book is doomed to a dull existence. Within piles of clutter there are pearls. While combing through hundreds of family photos in a box in another family member’s garage, we came upon photos of my husband in his youth, all bow-legged and knobby knees (his third knee surgery resolved the bow in his left knee).

We like to think we instilled our love of reading in our two sons  — the fact that neither reads much off-line doesn’t discourage our hopes — but we know that our grandson is going to be a throwback and find the feel of a book as reassuring as the touch of his parents’ hands. The kid shows promise: he loves untidiness, less so the cleanup, and he can nap on his grandfather’s chest with a good book for hours, overlooking the mess that his mother and grandmother are more than happy to deal with.

And on another high note, a parody of “the life-changing magic” is in the works. Now that’s one I want to read.

 

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