If I’m being honest, during certain times of the sports season, my apartment and its upkeep are somewhat neglected as I enter survival mode to make it through the daily grind that is a sports editor’s schedule.
I find myself washing dishes when I’m down to my last bowl and substituting quick wipe-downs for thorough cleaning.
But last week, with my sports season winding down for the summer—Tabor’s bats and cleats had hung up following a grueling NAIA Opening Round baseball tournament, and the steady stream of high school sports had slowed to the last hurrah that is the state track meet—I purposed to do some serious cleaning.
I picked up a dust cloth and rounded up wayward dust bunnies. I threw away countless papers, sticky notes and reporter’s notebooks and am happy to say I can now see the top of my desk. I even purged my closet and said good-bye to clothes I no longer wear.
I took a broom to the bottom of my supplies closet for the first time in months, sweeping a few thousand dust particles into oblivion, and spritzed vinegar on my kitchen faucet to make it shine. I even moved things when I vacuumed, and that’s saying something.
Now, lest you think I live in a pigpen all school year, please know I do clean my apartment. It’s just that sometimes it’s not as thorough as I’d like, and I tend to reside in a state of organized chaos.
As I cleaned, I found some things worth saving—items of sentimental, monetary, intrinsic or practical value. Other things I found—like cobwebs, paper trails, old clothes or trash—were not welcome in my apartment. I did well to purge them.
The cleaning process was energizing really. I so appreciate a clean space. A tidy apartment helps me be more productive and approach the day with a more positive outlook.
As I busied myself around my house, sorting through things and deciding which things to hold onto and which to discard, I thought to myself that apartments aren’t the only things that need cleaning.
Our minds—those amazing centers for information-processing that direct things like perception, reasoning and thinking—require regular attention and care.
Some thoughts are accurate, good and truthful, but if we’re not careful, cobwebs can creep in in the form of doubts, self-criticism and lies.
We would do well to take note of our thoughts—metacognition, if you will—considering if each thought is worth holding onto or if it will drag us down, as dirty dishes do for me when they’re piled high on my countertop.
Whether our struggles are insecurity, fear, guilt, a critical nature or comparison, the battle begins in the mind.
Our thoughts determine the course of our lives. Negative ones are worth only to recognize and discard, causing not even a second glance back.
Removing that kind of negativity keeps a person’s mind tidy and ready for action.
I’ve got some cleaning to do.
Janae Rempel is the Free Press sport editor. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.