Well, it took a couple weeks but I finally have a clean car. Actually, it was clean last weekend but I haven’t had the time to write about it since then. The first weekend I got most of the junk out of it and I was somewhat content with that. Last weekend, I finally took it down to a car wash where you hose the thing down yourself and was happy with that. Later in the day, however, my wife and daughter came back from going to tea and from running other errands and my wife informed me that she just took my car to a car wash. I informed her that I had already spent money to have it washed that morning. She said she didn’t notice. But that’s okay because the car wash she took it to was one of those expensive car washes where they clean the inside as well as the outside. The inside was cleaned and vacuumed, the windows were washed inside and out and the tires were scrubbed cleaned as well. So, I went outside and finished the job by cleaning out the trunk, leaving me with a car that hadn’t been that clean since the day I bought it. The perfect way to start this new resolution!
Now, let me make something clear. My resolution was not to clean my car. No, my resolution was to KEEP IT CLEAN! That’s the challenge. I’ve come up with strategies before as to how to accomplish this. But I’ve decided to go with my wife’s advice. She said, “It’s simple. When you get home, you bring in everything – even if it takes you 8 trips! Have you noticed that my car is always clean?”. I’ve heard that advice before but I hate making return trips to my car after getting home, so I have always rejected her advice. However, I’ve come to the realization that making return trips isn’t asking too much. I can do it. So, that will be my new policy, or habit.
Am I happier? Yes! I feel more in control, especially when I am in my car. Things are where they should be. My life feels less messy. I’ve also had a few times during the past week where I was with a group of people going to lunch or coffee. Each time, I was able to say I had room in my car to take someone. It feels to good to know that I don’t have to do a quick car cleaning in order to squeeze someone in. It feels good to know that I will not be embarrassed if someone accepts my half-hearted offer for a ride. Now did anyone accept any of my offers this week? No. Why? Because I have two child seats in the back and therefore, can only fit one person. But at least I can make the offer now!
Big improvements in life make us happy but lots of little improvements have the same effect. What’s my next little improvement? I don’t know. But I will think of something and let you know soon.
Well, I will start off this post by giving you an update on what I am doing and how I am doing. My current “project” on this blog is to focus on the details of life and ask myself how I can make each of these details a little better. Instead of just focusing on the big areas of improvement – finances, career, health etc., I will also focus on the small things in life that are often overlooked but add or subtract from our overall happiness level significantly. My first project involved cleaning the area next to my bed and keeping it clean. So far I have been successful at doing that. My other project involved updating the pictures on my desk at work with more recent photos – i.e. replacing the 6-month old photo of my son with a more recent photo that resembles what he looks like now at 2 and a half. On Sunday afternoon last week I stopped by the local CVS, went on Facebook to pick out some recent photos and picked them up the next morning. It turns out the photos of my daughter were fairly recent and still representative of what she currently looks like, so I left those alone for now. But the one photo of my crawling newborn was replaced by two really cute photos taken recently. I can say with all honesty that my life and overall happiness level has been enhanced by the completion of these two very small projects.
So, what is my next one? Cleaning my car! I always enjoy getting into a clean car. My overall life feels more organized when my vehicle is clean and kept up. But it rarely is. So, that is what I am going to do. Now, the project isn’t cleaning my car. I already do that, albeit somewhat infrequently. No, the project is keeping it clean. That will be tricky. How am I going to do that? I’ll have to give that some thought. In the meantime, I will take the first step and clean her up!!
On my desk at work I have pictures of my wife and kids. Most of us have personal items at our work location (photos, calendars, cartoons, memorabilia, etc.) that serve as reminders of our life outside work. Mostly we have photos – photos of family, photos of friends, photos of ourselves at exotic locations. I have a photo of my wife and I along with several photos of my kids. The photo of my wife and I was taken in 2007. We, more or less look the same. The photos of my kids though, are becoming…well, obsolete. Why? Because they are growing at an alarming rate! The photos are cute but they don’t necessarily represent the versions of my kids that are waiting for me to come home from work tonight. My son is 2 1/2 years old, but the picture on my desk was taken when he was maybe 6 months old. It’s cute but it’s not the boy that will be running to the door to greet me when I arrive home from work. Also, the longer these picture frames sit at my desk, the less I notice them because they have just become part of the scenery at my desk. They no longer stick out. They are no longer fresh.
So, what am I going to do? Update the photos, that’s what! I have plenty of good ones and they are going on my desk. Updating the photos on my desk will make me happier during the day. I will notice them more. I will be comforted by them more. I have no doubt that there will be a greater sense of joy and happiness as a result of having a fresh, new, up-to-date set of photographs sitting on my desk. It’s a little thing. It’s not paying off the credit card. It’s not buying a car. It’s something small. It’s a tiny detail. But the little details when added up, make a big deal in our lives.