At long last, I may have reached the end of my appetite for self-help books. This is like a trip across a long lake in a Lord of the Rings setting where the other side was shrouded in mist for a very, very long time.
Husband never understood the habit, since I never employed the exercises these books suggest, in their massive, tiny type appendices. For me, curling up to a gentle voice telling me what to do while I eat a bag of popcorn is just like a day at the spa, like being under a hypnotic spell. Someone has a life philosophy, a process; someone else is the boss. (I’m like prime to be a cult member.) I find, or I found, it so profoundly relaxing. On the subject of clutter, there seems to be a gold rush in the book world lately on how to do less, eat less, have less, stress less, a topic I have been enormously invested in. I am a lazy/messy person at heart and now with little time, I live and work in a space that looks like “on a very special episode of Hoarders.” (Exaggerating, but not necessarily by much.)
These books advise to toss out everything. Anything you don’t wear, anything that doesn’t fit, things you haven’t seen in years. For the most part, when I do plunder my things on the behalf of the Salvation Army, I do not miss or regret the dearly departed items. I can’t even remember them, but there was a vintage sun dress dress I wore every day during college made of gingham fabric with a three-tier skirt paired with an ill-advised fisherman’s cap that I miss. I’m sure it’s in someone’s trash by now. I wore that thing in the ground. I think of that dress fondly, and the young, ridiculous, exuberant woman I was when I wore it, that I regret losing it. I have not forgotten that dress.
The most recent addition to the art of declutter is Marie Kondo’s “The Japanese Life-Changing Art of Tidying.” I reserved it from the library with salivating anticipation. I could not wait to get my paws on it. I looked up the you tube video on her special way of folding long sleeve shirts, I read in profile articles how she believes socks should not be balled up; they should lay flat, allowed to rest, in return for all the service they provide us. She is totally escalating housework to a spiritual vision quest. It’s kind of hilarious, but also the type of approach I totally eat up.
I started reading it last guys, and it was so boring, I don’t think I can finish. It may possibly be the most boring book I have ever read. It totally reminds me of the Haruki Murakami books I don’t like, where he goes for five pages on the mundane task of like eating spaghetti (when he makes the ordinary transcendent, his writing works; when he doesn’t, it’s just like reading an air humidifier manual). I also recently read “The Power of Less” by Leo someone, and I mostly felt like how about making this “less boring, less sucky.” So, I will keep cleaning, keep tossing, but the phase of reading about it has wrapped.
It’s the end of an era, people. I wonder what’s next.
P.S. I lost the book the first day I got it. It’s in my house somewhere. Hard to know for sure when I have so much junk around. Husband couldn’t stop laughing.