Towels, chopping boards and other things I’m using wrong.

I read a BuzzFeed article the other day on how often you should wash your towels. Read it here. Apparently, you’re supposed to wash your towels after three uses. Just three. And any cloths that get completely soaked? After every use.

Before reading this article, I thought I had a really good system going. I do 2-3 loads of clothes every weekend (whites, colours, darks). On top of that, I alternate between bedding and towels, doing two towel loads every other weekend (including dish towels, cleaning rags, etc.). If I were to take said advice, I would have to have 15 towels to keep me, my hair and my boyfriend in drying business for the two weeks. Ain’t nobody got space for that! (And by that, I mean I don’t have space to store 15+ towels in my house unless I want to sacrifice a bookshelf or something.)

Now I know you’ll say I could just wash towels more frequently. The boyfriend and I are both busy IT professionals who probably work longer than we should. Neither of us has time to be washing towels every three days and all the other frankly OTT recommendations of our modern world.

And I mean that. These kinds of articles are popping up everywhere, joining all the other advice on how to avoid bacteria at all costs. This is scaremongering. When was the last time someone died because they didn’t wash their towel for a month, or even a few? I was perfectly healthy in my first year of university, where I avoided doing too much laundry because it involved lugging a bag/suitcase/basket outside to the designated laundry room. This room was small and had maybe five machines that had to be shared by hundreds of first-year students. There was no way I was going to go all that way and pay a pound every three days just to spare myself from coming in contact with bacteria.

It’s like the advice to have separate chopping boards for meat and vegetables. I’m sure there are those of you out there who are a stickler for this protocol, but I can assure you that I am still alive despite using the same boards for both. Gasp!

I also grew up licking the spoon when baking, and not once did I get salmonella, but the way the media goes on about it you’d think it was inevitable. I ran around outside, made mud pies, broke both arms and played with farm animals. I’m 23 and still here!

The fact is, bacteria is everywhere, including all over and inside your body. I am in the camp that believes that people have survived quite well without all this overprotection. I’m not saying to not wash your hands or use the same knife over and over without washing it, but I am suggesting that you use your common sense and not go overboard by taking every link-bait suggestion out there. Your immune system will thank you for giving it some exercise. 😉

My belated New Year’s Resolution 2015.

I hate having so many ideas in my head, sentences and paragraphs that I think up while wandering about or going to bed, but then everything hiding away in corners of my mind when I actually sit down to write.

I think it’s because I feel so much pressure to write perfectly, coherently, interestingly and –this is the kicker– like an expert.

I’m 23. Yes, I know a bit more about life than I did at 13, but I’ve only been a full-blown adult (if I am at all) for a few years. I’ve only been in full-time employment for just under two years. My expertise on ‘adulthood’ and business is limited, and I need to stop holding myself to an impossible standard that is simply holding me back from things that I want to do, like writing.

Many people have noted before me that the young want to be seen as older and the old want to be seen as younger. I’m in a funny limbo where I want to hang on to my youth (because being a grownup is scary, you know) while also putting forth this experienced and knowledgeable persona. Why not embrace where I am now? Trying to sound like I know more than I do will be like putting on my dad’s suit jacket as a kid, with the sleeves reaching my knees (they probably still do).

I don’t know everything, and I can’t learn it all overnight. Expecting too much of myself will only burden me. If I only do something when I know how to do it fully, I will never do it. So my New Year’s Resolution for 2015 is to accept who I am now.

A sobering end to 2014.

2014 is ending in a way I never thought possible. My parents are getting divorced, and the circumstances around the divorce make things more difficult. I feel unsteady, my foundations shaken.

People may be surprised to read that being an ‘adult’ living in a different country does not make a divorce any easier. I almost envy my younger brother, who has witnessed the gradual breakdown in my parents’ relationship over time and has been expecting the divorce for a while. The news was ceremoniously dumped on me prior to my flying home for Christmas, so that I wouldn’t be surprised when I got there. I almost didn’t want to go home, but I did, and we managed to survive.

However, I sense that this whole ordeal is going to leave a lasting scar on my heart and mind. I feel myself readjusting my view of my parents, my sense of family and my priorities. I feel a little lost, as I’d grown up with my family unit being the only stable thing in my life (having moved between countries with friends changing year on year). I felt safer launching myself into the world with them as my base. This widening crack in the unit has destabilised the platform, and I no longer feel sure of what I’m doing and what I should be doing.

I’m now sitting in the airport in Frankfurt, waiting for my connecting flight to London (a whopping 5½ hours). I did not want to leave South Africa (as usual). I wanted to stay with my mother, who is now more alone than ever, having seen both her kids off at the airport at the same time. My brother is spending a few weeks in Milan with his friend before returning to South Africa to start university. He’ll be a four-hour drive from where my mom lives. We had to help my dad move out most of his stuff this past weekend, so my mom is going back to a house devoid of her children and her soon-to-be ex-husband.

My dad’s work is what started tearing our family apart, his job in another city meaning he spent less and less time with his family over the past year and a half. After being a part of this, I wonder whether I have put too much stress on my own job, to the disadvantage of my family and my happiness. At what point do you decide that while the work is good in one place, your heart belongs in another?

I’m reaching out now to anyone else who has experienced their parents divorcing in their early adulthood. How were you affected? Did you also find yourself readjusting your worldview? Did you do anything different as a result, and do you regret it? I ask these questions because the reading I’ve found on the subject is limited – only a single book on Amazon about adult children of divorce (ACODs) for a start. Please let me know your thoughts.