Philosophy, Entropy, and Housework

Before I start, I’d like to mention that this piece is a creative experiment on my part. It’s less of a blog about life, and certainty, and more of a blog about an idea I play around with. It’s a bit technical sounding, and this is most likely because I have a science background and am used to reading about these topics in textbooks and dry research papers (bear with me if you can).

I’ve been really busy lately because I got a new job. I’ve also been trying to finally stay on top of the housework and cooking; I’m proud to say I’ve succeeded so far. Our home is clean, the laundry is done, and we’ve eaten healthy meals 5/7 days. I’ve even had time to start a project.

I’ve noticed this week, that keeping up with all of these things has been stressful. Managing my life in a way that maintains cleanliness and order, is inherently difficult. Why? Because scientifically, “chaos reigns”. Entropy is a part of thermodynamics, it’s also used to describe the idea that everything declines into disorder, as opposed to becoming more ordered. This is a really complex idea, that has other facets and nuances. For my purposes, we’re going to think of it in a more abstract and philosophical way, and not in the typical atomic level of thinking (so, no sending me death threats my chemistry friends).

My philosophy of entropy: if something can decline into chaos, it will without sufficient energy placed into it. This is my own build on “Murphy’s Law” which has typically been quoted as, “If it can go wrong, it will,” or various versions of that sentence. For an example, I recently started a job as a data associate. I sort through data as part of a team, and we all organize everything the best we can. That’s the order and energy we put into it. If we don’t put as much energy into organizing it, as energy is put into adding new data to it (hint: we couldn’t possibly), it’ll be less ordered than ordered. In life, I try to think of things this way. If I am trying to keep the house clean, and prevent problems, it requires a lot of energy.

Whether I have the energy or not depends on a lot of things. Did I have help? Was my chronic illness making me tired? Did something happen to add more chaos than I have energy? The big one is chronic illness (surprise, I’m bringing that one up again). Does it make sense to beat myself up and stress myself out over the energy I don’t have, or is it better to just do what I can and accept chaos will happen?

I do what I can, there will be days when I cannot possibly put enough energy into maintaining order, when that happens it’s my job to accept it. Chronic illness is always like this, because often our bodies give us chaos in truck-fulls. Any Spoonie can tell you that trying to keep everything perfect is an uphill battle, and sometimes you’ve just gotta let yourself slide downhill a bit before running as far as you can again. Does this mean I just let everything get worse and enjoy life and stop stressing? That depends on how much time I have to slide, and run again.

This requires a thought about certain illnesses that shorten our lives. If I was diagnosed with a form of cancer with a historically poor remission rate tomorrow, I would most likely stop worrying about fixing my home chaos, and put all my energy into disrupting my physical chaos. My heart condition on the other hand, is not terminal. I have a seemingly extensive number of days to spend fighting the chaos and making our home nice for the man and cat living there with me.

Every system has a set amount of energy. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transferred. Each person has to decide where they want their energy transferred to, and that requires motivation. I always try to have a reason, a good reason, for putting my energy somewhere. My energy, especially as a Spoonie, is valuable. I don’t want to throw it at useless things, so I think about why each thing is worth it to me. My boyfriend and cat take priority because I love them; I want them to have a nice home, and comfortable lives. It’s worth the energy to me to make that possible. My body is also a priority, so when I need to I put my energy into resting, sliding downhill and relaxing for a bit. It’s a balance, and that’s always the goal. That’s the whole point of my blog: balancing my life while living with chronic illness.

No matter what you choose to put your energy into, if you find the right motivation, fighting the degradation into chaos is a lot easier.

End note: This isn’t my best writing, and I know that. I didn’t put nearly as much time or thought into this as I normally would. I’m trying to make content weekly and unfortunately my energy input wasn’t as much as the chaos. Hope to post next week; thanks for reading!