I’ve been living in South Korea for about 8 months now and I don’t really feel like I’ve been progressing as quickly as I should be. It’s been harder than I anticipated to learn and study Korean, since at work I mostly speak English (I’m an English teacher after all) and I hang out with English-speaking friends. But I had a kind of breaking point recently, and it was because of something seemingly simple.
A while back, I did a review of Marie Kondo’s best-selling book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and wrote about my experience with using the Konmari method of tidying up. I often think about that short period of time where I felt fully satisfied with and proud of my space and the changes I’d made. I took the process very seriously and tried my best to internalize the many tidbits of advice and wisdom that Marie Kondo shared in her book. I felt like I made really important changes: I learned about how to let go of things easier and to cherish the items around me that truly “sparked joy.” I love to look at the before-and-after pictures of my bedroom and relive that time of total contentedness. It seems dramatic to believe that the simple act of tidying my bedroom is what could have caused me so much happiness, but it’s true. I felt accomplished, I felt organized, I felt in control, and free.
Since then, however, I have been living in a near-constant state of messiness, to varying degrees. It’s not what you might be thinking. I didn’t backslide (and according to Marie Kondo, she’s never had anyone backslide yet). I’ll explain.