Cleaning for someone new
A few weeks ago I got a new cleaning job. It was for an older lady who needed help to be able to stay in her own home. She was 85 years old. I know this since she told me several times. When I went to her house for the interview, she was sitting on the couch reading. I also noticed a pile of books on the table beside her bed. This lady loved to read!
Since she was quite elderly, she would be there while I was cleaning. That’s not my favorite situation, but in this case it was necessary.
Well, when I arrived at her house to clean the first time, she was sitting on the couch reading a book. She was actually reading The Lipstick Jungle! Of course I cleaned every other room first so as not to disturb her, but eventually I ended up in the living room. She was still on the couch reading. I dusted the whole room. I shook out the rugs. Then all that remained was vacuuming the carpet.
She was on the couch and since it didn’t look like she was going anywhere, I started vacuuming the other side of the room. As I approached the couch, she turned sideways to move her feet out of the way. Without ever taking her eyes off her book, she swung her feet from the floor up to the arm of the couch and kept right on reading.
That was so cool!
It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen! I got such a thrill watching her enjoy her book and I felt privileged to have been a part an amazing moment. Here was an 85 year old woman so enjoying her book, so okay with having someone else clean for her, that she was able to keep reading uninterrupted while I cleaned in circles around her.
As I finished the vacuuming, I kept thinking: when I’m 85 years old that’s what I want to be like. When I’m 85 years old I want to lay on the couch reading a book while someone else cleans for me. When I get that old, I read all day if I want!
What’s wrong with this picture?
But as I kept working something was bothering me. I had a feeling there was something wrong with this picture (other than the fact that an 85 year old woman was reading a racy book). It finally hit me.
Why should I wait until I’m 85 years old put my feet up on the couch and read a book? I love to read. It makes me very happy, and I think it makes me a more interesting person. It’s even part of my plan to adjust to live with an empty nest.
But in truth I don’t read very often. I might sneak in a chapter or two after we go to bed and my husband falls asleep. But I feel too guilty to sit on the couch in the afternoon and read, even though I really enjoy it.
Do it now! Put your feet up and read!
I learned a lesson that day. Making promises to myself for some future happiness is not the same as doing things that make me happy. I want to do things right now that make me happy. Especially something as inexpensive, low calorie, and rewarding as reading!
My friendly librarian called me a couple of days ago to tell me that they were holding a book for me, The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. She is an author I discovered this year and I have read every one of her books. The Great Alone just came out in 2018 and our library bought it at my recommendation. So here I have this great book that I’ve only just barely started because I think I should always be working.
But do you know what I’m going to do this afternoon? I’m going to go in the living room and lay down, put my feet up on the arm of the couch, and finish reading this wonderful book. You know why? Because it just doesn’t make sense to always delay gratification. It doesn’t make sense to promise myself that in the future I will make time read. And it doesn’t make sense to save the good things of life for what I’m old. Heck I’m pretty old now! That may be the best reason I have. I’ve earned it!