I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how our lives are really very much about being able to control our environments. My youngest daughter is just about to turn two years old. She’s a pretty easy going kid, and she’s very easy to talk to. But she does spend a lot of time telling me what needs to happen in her little world. She’s still using more sign language than words, so I have to pay close attention. As soon as I pick her up from the crib, she wants me to turn off the fan that sits on her dresser and is shaped like a cat (sign: kitty, all done). I carry her into the kitchen and she tells me she wants to explore outside (sign: shoes). Even though she sees lunch already on the table, she heads toward the TV for her favorite video (sign: sign time). She wants to play in the water when she sees me at the sink (sign: wash hands). She wants more pickles (sign: more more, because we don’t know the sign for pickle).
It’s fun to watch her make these mostly silent demands on me. I know that she is hardwired to create patterns, demonstrate possession, and anticipate activities. She is trying to shape her world.
In a way, that’s what we all do. I see it with the people I work with. As a Certified Professional Organizer®, I’m privy to the way people set up their homes, their time, and their information. As we get older, we are able to anticipate and assimilate the needs of others better than my almost-two-year-old. But, really, it’s the same instinct showing up in adults. One reason we want to be organized is that we want to control our environments.
As adults, we often get discouraged about our ability to get or stay organized, to have the perfect home, or meet some goal we’ve set for ourselves. Little people are great for showing us that whether we do it quietly by signing or with a lot more commotion, trying to get our way is only human.