Monday, September 15, 2014
On Doing It Over and Over Again
(Not my own new place...not yet.)
One of the first things you learn moving into a studio apartment is the importance of habit. Correction: the imperative. For unless you get into the habit keeping the space clean and neat as you go, it'll turn into a wilderness of confused and angry wonderings: where the devil are my keys? where's my bus pass? who the hell took my flash drives and Altoids? Things tend to pile up quickly...then shift and slide to chaos. And the end result can be a weak sense of helpless despair.
I know: I faced exactly that with my one bedroom apartment in Charlotte. And it took me nearly half a year to sort, prune, organize...and take out a whole lot of trash. In this new smaller space, I knew, I'd be facing worse if I didn't start constructing some far better habits. Today.
As a man who's kicked booze and tobacco--and failed a few times with tobacco--I knew the importance of mindset and realistic thinking. Aristotle put it this way, 'We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence...is not an act but a habit." There's no succeeding at any life commitment in 3 days, 3 weeks or 3 months. And the effort must be not a battle but a daily chance to grow in strength and sense of purpose.
It helps to have clear, powerful vision. I saw an immaculate, spartanly furnished studio. And I saw just what I needed, placed where it belonged with a Zen-like respect for space.
Of immediate importance: staying organized and neat on a strict daily basis. Since I'm furnishing slowly, from scratch, I can't have everything at once: dresser, filing cabinets, desk...These will come. For now, I use cheap plastic modules from Target. One broad slate window sill supports my Stoker Award and a cover blowup of my third book, Mastery. On another I lay out the personal things I'll need for the next day: keys, wallet, etc.The kitchen counter top, just for now, holds one newspaper I haven't finished reading and a couple of pieces of mail, all very neatly arranged.
Nothing, nothing on the floor except what's meant to be there.
Garbage: taken out each day. Every scrap and stitch of it.
Used laundry: in the closet's special bag immediately after use.
Bathroom: spot-cleaned daily, toiletries neatly arranged.
I know, I know. It all sounds so banal. But the spiritual discipline involved is the very stuff of life--what Napoleon Hill once called Cosmic Habitforce.
Zen and the Art of Living in a Studio.