I ran my car through a car wash this morning. I should do so more often. As is usual right after I wash my car, it is suddenly more peppy and has a smoother ride. That's nonsense of course, cleaning a car cannot possibly affect its performance, but it nevertheless feels very real to me.
I like things to be clean and orderly. With my hectic and often chaotic life, I seek refuge in a tidy environment and like things to be 'just so.' The problem is that others around me don't always have the same need. As a result I am often frustrated, and my frustration in turn frustrates others. My solution is to at least have the areas I frequent, like my office at work, and my computer/music room at home, reasonably tidy. It feels good. It gives me peace. And inner peace is what we all need.
I'm not obsessive about things. I just don't want to wade, knee-deep, through garbage to get to my office. I don't want to scrape yesterday's (or last week's) food spills off the kitchen table when I sit down to a meal. I'm using considerable dramatic license here, of course, I don't actually face these extremes at work or in my home, but allow me to exaggerate to make a point.
Our minds are like that, I think. Too much clutter makes for mental tension and frustration. If our lives are too complicated, we suffer. And if we suffer, often everyone around us does too. I periodically go through periods of simplification, where I select various annoyances and get rid of them. If something is more trouble than it is worth, it's time to clean house. A few years ago, my wife and I sold off all of our residential rental holdings. They were good investments, but the bang-for-the-buck was considerably diminished by problems with tenants and the way Ontario laws are biased against landlords. Now, without the buildings, we have fewer headaches. It was, for us anyway, a good move.
I am doing much the same again right now. I am scrutinizing everything I do and everything I own, and when I have completed my assessment, something or some things or maybe even lots of things will go. If it isn't fun, if it doesn't make enough money compared to the effort it takes to operate it, if I stub my toe on it when I walk across the room, I want to rid myself of it.
Our governments should do much the same. Every few years, there should be massive efforts to do away with useless laws and regulations. Committees and boards and enquiries should have built in sunset rules, so that they automatically expire at some predetermined point. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Life is far too complicated in this world of ours and it is getting worse every day.
I want to face each new day with a fresh and open mind. I don't want to be looking at a beautiful sunrise and have its effect diminished by a worry about how I am going to deal with a particular problem, or about who is going to be a pain in the ass to me later that day. Life is too short.
I'm making a list. I'm checking it twice. And I may hang on to the naughty and nice, but everything else better have a damn good reason for cluttering up my life.