Monday, January 5, 2015
Meditations on Washing Dishes
After living in another person's apartment for two weeks I found myself taking pleasures in the simple things.
I stood at the kitchen sink with the hot water running. It seared my hands as I lifted each dish into the stream and began to scrub, the soap foaming to my satisfaction. I cleaned off every speck of take out sushi from our dishes. We had it delivered after driving home for 10 hours straight. I scoured the cat bowls that I had snatched up, dirty, and packed when we left my mother-in-law's apartment at 6am. I let my mind wander as my hands moved with the memory of what it was like to wash dishes by hand.
Before moving into the tiny house nearly three years ago we lived, first, in a 2700 square foot home with a dishwasher. After dinner we would pop things into the machine and turn it on. Emptying it was a chore that I hated. It was simple enough, but I made plenty of excuses why I couldn't do it every day. I would pull just one bowl out and fill it with cereal and milk before work and place the empty, dirty bowl in the sink to wait until I felt "prepared" to empty the dishwasher and start the whole process over again.
In an effort to simplify we sold the 2700 square foot house while we were still building our tiny home near Asheville. We moved into an 800 square foot apartment with a smaller kitchen. It still had a dishwasher. For some reasons dishes became even harder to manage here. I would get home from work every day and would pull clean dishes from the dishwasher to make dinner and then pile them in the sink until I had the energy to do something about them. I almost never did. Eventually the dishwasher would be empty because we used all the dishes in it. Then we would put them all back in like nothing every happened. There was practically no need for cupboards.
A dishwasher is a marvelous thing but I quickly found that these modern conveniences didn't actually give me more time. They just made me feel more disconnected with my life. I didn't have to wash the dishes. Once I found the energy to fill the dishwasher I could add soap and hit start. I had to find the energy to empty it again later. And then start over. It was set and forget, which is how I felt my life was going. Everything was on autopilot.
Now, with nearly three years of living a more deliberate life I actually find joy in the simple, tactile task of cleaning my dishes by hand.
These are the reasons I changed my life.
These are the reasons I built a tiny home with my own hands. I needed a catalyst to pitch forward without setting autopilot and expecting things to happen.
These are the reasons I chose to keep my tiny house as simple as possible. It isn't just about dishes. It is about feeling more connected with myself, my life, and everything around me.
I changed my entire life to live more deliberately. I have orchestrated my life to make everything mean something from my job to washing dishes and everything in between.
That is what tiny living means to me.