An ordered mind

So I wrote yesterday about how I like things in my home neat. I have thought about this a great deal over the past few years because it at least in part directly correlates to my state of mind. I find that I must clean and organize when my brain is in two different modes: overloaded and in high gear.

I have times when I’m full of ideas and just raring to go, and I just get moving. My mind is spinning but not so fast I feel completely overloaded. Then there are other times when my mind is spinning so fast I can’t possibly keep up and I feel like my circuits are going to short. These two slightly different speeds in my brain (which are separate from my “normal” and “slow” speeds) lead to two different outcomes and emotions, too. When I’m spinning in a “good” way, I’m excited about all the ideas that seem to be popping up out of nowhere. It’s exciting to experience that rush of inspiration, of creativity, and I rush around a bit to try to keep up. When my mind is spinning out of control, though, I can’t possibly rush fast enough to keep up; I also find that this latter situation, which leads to anger, frustration and exhaustion, is also induced by busy-ness that’s outside of my brain and outside of my control. So if my life isn’t too full of appointments, expectations, to-do lists that are foisted on me by others (including my four children and their schedules), and I am free to let my brain spin and give me ideas, it’s all fine. But when the outside expectations and to-dos pile up and I feel, especially, that I have no say in them, my brain just spins like about 100 caffeine-dosed hamsters on 100 wheels, and I short out.

My house benefits from both situations, my family, not so much. When I’m full of ideas of how to make my house more organized and I’m not walking around with those hamsters in my head, I am eager to just get to work and make things nice and neat. When the hamsters are doing their thing, I do some work, but I mainly order my husband and kids around and/or complain about how the house is messy and it’s contributing to my overwhelmed state. The mess in my head is so all-encompassing that any mess in my physical living space just exacerbates the inner clutter a hundredfold. Clutter inside means clutter outside is unacceptable.

So I’ve wondered a bit if I would be so organized and neat if it weren’t for my brain’s tendencies to go into high gear so often. But I think I would. I’ve just always been neat and clean. But that concept brings me to another one: is it even possible to tease out my personality traits from my brain’s chemical issues? My brain simply is who I am. And THAT is a discussion for another day.

Let’s just leave my post here today with this thought: SPIN SPIN SPIN HAMSTERS HAMSTERS HAMSTERS. My house is looking pretty good.

Life of the mind

Cathy Carmode Lim View All →

I’m a copy editor, writer, and book reviewer with three decades of experience. My book review website is I’m a mom of four and grandma of three.

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