The Home Guru has been away for a couple of weeks.
The announced reason was that I was enjoying some well-deserved vacation after five years of never missing a single deadline, but really, I just needed to stop.
I just needed to pull the emergency cord on practically everything that goes with holding house and home – and head and heart – together because I had a real emergency.
It all started when I got involved with a community issue that was highly charged and polarizing. I took a position and utilized this column, in retrospect not the best venue, to engage readers and to express my views on the matter, using a metaphor unthinkingly that caused quite a ruckus. Some community members on the other side of the issue, some of them friends, became upset with me, some saying so quite pointedly in the press.
While I stand firm in my beliefs about the issue, to anyone I may have offended in expressing them, I say here that if I were to write that column again, I would choose my words more carefully, respecting the beliefs of others at the same time.
I am the kind of guy who likes to be liked by everybody and this bout of being criticized harshly and publicly took its toll. Added to an already hectic lifestyle of a two-track career, for the first time ever, I felt a compelling need to put on the brakes and just STOP.
I stopped making my bed, remembering how I once wrote an article based on some ridiculous study claiming that making your bed in the morning augured a better day, all day, much like eating an apple to keep the doctor away.
I stopped my obsessive dieting, my lifelong curse, and stopped getting on that damned scale at least twice a day. After the first week, I was feeling paunchy but calmer and sleeping better.
I stopped shaving, exposing what I’d look like if I let my real hair color show and terrifying my wife that I’d soon let myself become Willie Nelson.
I stopped hanging my clothes by color code in the closet, after having written about the system my wife had developed for me. In fact, I stopped hanging my clothes at all and for good measure, just let them drop to the floor in my dressing room.
I stopped putting the toilet seat down, reminding myself of that article I wrote about toilet history and etiquette that pulled more response than any other I had ever done.
I stopped setting the alarm on my iPhone and didn’t get up every morning at my usual 5 a.m.
I stopped cleaning after myself in the kitchen.
I didn’t take the garbage out on Thursday.
I didn’t read the newspaper.
I stopped answering the phone just because it rang.
I stopped checking emails and texts every few seconds.
I just stopped.
After two weeks of my retreat from the rat race of deadlines, pacing and racing, I had transformed from The Home Guru to The Home Slob. The riot of my summer garden had withered on winter vines and my mind had grown totally still.
One recent morning, oddly the morning of the public hearing on the controversial issue, I awoke at 5 a.m. with just one thought in my head that hadn’t popped there since a time in my younger years when I worked a spiritual program: “Be still and know I am God.”
I didn’t invite it in. It was just there. I had cleared away the wreckage of the pile-up that too busy a life had created. I had wiped the slate clean by doing nothing. I was restored.
I made my bed, showered, shaved, had breakfast with my wife, really listened to what she was saying, opened the weekly paper, missed seeing my familiar column and got ready to go back to work.
During this period away, I learned that nobody has to live up to their own expectations of being the perfect Home Guru either at home or away from it.
Every once in a while, I guess you just have to stop to get started again.
The Home Guru is back.
Bill Primavera is a Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate and Founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc., the longest running public relations agency in Westchester (www.PrimaveraPR.com,) specializing in lifestyles, real estate and development. Primavera’s real estate site is www.PrimaveraRealEstate.com and his blog is www.TheHomeGuru.com. To engage the services of The Home Guru and his team to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.