Tuesday, January 22, 2013

MORE and more, I’m starting to believe that I was German in a former life. No, I don’t mean my Scandinavian good looks, I mean my ridiculous efficiency. You know, just those times when I put my mind to it. When I’m not too busy procrastinating, like. I’m sure that one of the main traits most people would associate with me is that I’m quite driven. Very motivated and ambitious. Persistent. At least, that’s what I assume they mean when they say “stubborn”. In fact, one of my very first jobs was acquired when I popped in to the local supermarket to enquire about vacancies and was told to call back the following week. I called back in every single day until they eventually relented and agreed to pay me for hanging around.

Ditto the job after that – my first in Dublin – when I handed in a CV and then went back in later to ask the manager if he’d actually read it. He offered me a job on the spot. See? I don’t believe in going home and waiting for the problem to sort itself out; I believe in getting things done. If I were a stick of rock, I’d definitely have ‘German’ written all the way through.

In order to progress the story, this is the part where I’m going to have to make a huge confession – I read a lot of self-help books. You might even say it’s a guilty pleasure. Oh you may scoff but, for the most part, I find them incredibly motivating. OK, sure, you’re always going to get a few outrageous ones, like the one I read recently that said that cancer was caused by holding on to resentment and anger, so a few visualisation techniques about walking in beautiful gardens and having a lovely long chat with your inner child would help to heal you. I’m not talking about those ones.

I’m talking about the ones that tell you to get up off your arse and change your life for the better. The ones that tell you to put down the vat of chocolate and get outside for some fresh air. The ones that tell you to stop living in filth lest you die alone. Those are the good ones. After reading one, I can’t help getting all fired up to effect change. I mean, fair enough, it might not last long, but that’s why I go back and get another book. (Seriously, my loan history at the local library would make for pretty pathetic reading.)

The one thing most of them have in common is that they tell you to find your passion and follow it. For years I’ve been trying to find my passion. There are lots of things I love doing, but I wouldn’t say I’m passionate about them. In fact, for a long time, the only thing I could come up with was that I was passionate about slobbing out on the sofa. Somehow, it didn’t quite seem good enough.

And then, over Christmas, it hit me. While going through another of my New Year cleaning frenzies, and knowing that I’d soon have an extra little person living with me, I suddenly realised that the one thing I’m passionate about it organising things. I mean, one look at my remote controls, organised by size, should have told me that, or one look at my bookcase, with books arranged first by height, then width, then colour… I was passionate about having everything parallel!

All my taxes are filed away by year, my bills and bank statements are kept in chronological order, and I write a ‘to do’ list for the following day most evenings before bed. Even my Christmas tree decorations were tweaked several times until they looked right. Now if that doesn’t prove I have Germanic roots, I don’t know what will.

Hubby has come to sympathise with the fact that I like everything symmetrical. That doesn’t mean he follows suit – it just means he laughs his ass off a little less. We have separate kitchen cupboards to store our food and, while his is a mish-mash of snacks, mine is all organised and categorised. Occasionally, I clean his out completely, only to return a week later to find the condiments mixed up with the crackers. It’s a losing battle.

But I’m the one who’ll have the last laugh, right? I mean, I’m the one who knows where all the tools are, where the plasters and painkillers are, where the lightbulbs and ‘bags for life’ are… I mean, fair enough, I can’t sit still if a picture is even marginally crooked or the mug handles aren’t all facing the same way, but it’s a small price to pay for knowing your home is organised, efficient perfection, no?

Hmm… Perhaps, after all, the only thing I’m passionate about is being a pain in the ass.

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By Laura Hutchinson
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