It's not that I don't try, but let's just say that neatness has never really been one of my strengths.
But as I was perusing the interwebs this morning, I happened upon an article that gave me new perspective on the entire issue.
The article is about a study recently published in the Journal of Psychological Science where researchers found a link between messiness and creativity.
On some level this makes intuitive sense... you know, the creative genius has better things to do with his time than to worry about trivialities like tidiness.
But what I found most interesting was that they didn't just find a correlation between the two, they actually found that a messy environment stimulated out of the box thinking, while a neat and tidy environment tended to engender conformity and a need to "do the right thing."
Hmmmm... well, speaking as a person who has never really excelled at either order or conformity, I have to say that I find this idea refreshing.
I guess some part of me has always assumed that the neat and tidy crowd feels, well, neat and tidy inside. But the more I look at it, the more I question this assumption.
I mean, there have been times in my life when I have managed to create clean, uncluttered horizontal surfaces, but the truth is, surrounding myself with order didn't really make any of my internal chaos go away.
It did give me a bit of an illusion of control, but I'm not entirely sure that holding onto control is always a healthy thing.
When you really look at it, life is fundamentally an out of control experience. We're born, we live, and we die... and while there is much we can do to influence the direction of our lives, on some level we're really just along for the ride.
We get to choose what we do, but we don't get to choose what we feel or what things life throws at us.
The older I get, the more I realize that while we may get to control the rudders of our personal ships, the wind and the waves have a mind of their own.
And oftentimes having the ability to go with the flow, and the willingness to take a zig zag path will serve us much better than a hard fought battle against the tide.
So, perhaps my slovenly nature is not merely a symptom of hopeless inadequacy on my part after all. Maybe, just maybe there's a bit of a gift in there as well.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for having less stuff, and I'm certainly not suggesting that anyone go out and cultivate messiness for the sake of creativity. But I do think that perhaps we'd all be better served if we tried to make peace with our inner slobs.
Take That, neat freaks!