No. I’m not at a spin class. I'm not sweating (attractively, of course) in some saucy Lululemon outfit. I’m not at Soul Cycle. I’m at a laundromat, and thought I’d use my twenty-three minutes of washing-machine-time wisely.
I can hear some of you thinking,
“Oh, that poor woman…doesn’t she have a washer and dryer of her own at this point in life?”
Actually, no. I no longer do. And I'm quite content currently being the non-owner of any large appliances. Although, admittedly, the whole laundry/ washer-dryer situation did weigh quite heavily upon my mind as I searched for a new single-chick “nest” after selling our home in Maine nearly a year ago. The apartment I ended up loving had nearly everything I desired, and more…sans a washer and dryer. I considered purchasing my own, but decided against it for a variety of reasons ~ one of the biggest being my recollection that only few years ago, when my daughter was graduating college and moving into a new city-brand of bachelorette pad with a couple of female friends, I was a tad envious. I recall thinking how much fun it would be to be that free again ~ renting again, drinking wine in the kitchen with girlfriends at one o’clock on a Friday evening, doing laundry at a laundromat ~ rather than being tied to a four-bedroom suburban home with a yard and a one-hundred-year-old furnace and certain suburban neighbors who felt entitled to judge me and share their suggestions regarding my leaf-raking habits (or lack thereof).
And so, realizing I was now “living the dream" (!), I decided to embrace my local laundromat.
I have sentimental memories of doing my laundry whilst a college student in Philadelphia…in a part of the city where you only left your laundry unattended at the risk of seeing your leg warmers or vintage Army jacket on a homeless person strolling the neighborhood later that week. I've also had romantic visions of writing blog posts while awaiting my clean togs, and so, here I am. Eight months after moving here, finally writing a blog post from the laundromat. (Which, thankfully, is a place I actually CAN leave my laundry unattended without fear of it being plundered.)
There’s something cozy and down-to-earth and communal about a laundromat. I kind of enjoy it, admittedly. And it reminds me of life. And cycles. We have so many different cycles in our lives. Seasons of life blossoming. Seasons of life departing. We have hot water cycles and cold water cycles. We have “extra heavy” and delicate and “air dry only” cycles. And seemingly never-ending menstrual cycles. But that’s another post.
Right now, sitting here in my sunny laundromat window-seat ~ a molded-plastic chair that’s bolted to the floor ~ I couldn’t feel more grounded and happy. There’s a television set playing in some far-away corner, a man Swiffering (I’m pretty sure that’s a verb now) the floor, and the sound of people occasionally shuffeling in and out. There’s the sound of washers washing and drying drying. The sounds of life.
My experiences have brought me to the conclusion that we all need spin cycles in our life. Those times when things go upside-down and we don’t know which end is up. We’re going round and round and we may feel a bit dizzy. It can feel anywhere from mildly unpleasant, to absolutely heart-wrenching and terrifying. But it’s what shakes us up. It’s what introduces newness into our “safety-zone” lives…the safe little cocoons we attempt to create and the routines and passive existences to which we can sometimes so easily fall prey.
If you’re feeling a bit dizzy (or terrified) by the chaos or uncertainty of life right now, I humbly suggest you try to see the adventure in it all. Chaos and uncertainty, while unwelcome to most and scary, are where all possibilities lie. And if your life is gliding along, and you’re not in the least uncomfortable or pushing yourself to be uncomfortable (just another word for courage)…don’t be afraid of putting 26 quarters into the large-capacity machine, and shaking things up a bit. Life is too short to be safe…but we don’t have to wait for outside forces to shake us up. We don’t have to wait for that accident or diagnosis or foreclosure or divorce or job loss. We can push the start button all on our own. And spin ourselves into a more life-affirming and exciting and fulfilling existence. Because the world needs more people who are lit up inside...and have courage. xo