I lived a very orderly life for a long time.

I had a porch swing and a chair in my living room, and a television I kept in a closet to pull out every so often. It was one of those old blocky ones, I didn’t get a flat screen until 2012. I slept in the living room on a yoga mat and a small rug that I rolled up and put away in a cabinet each morning. I had a CD player with big speakers.

Tyler (now 16) had the master bedroom where I had pulled up the carpet so his action figures could stand up on the floor with a queen-sized bed that had a tent over it. One room was completely empty except for a rabbit named Bebop. He had a lot of room to run. There was rarely a mess, and since it was me and a toddler who didn’t have much say, I got to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.

This is no longer the case.

The living room is full of furniture and pictures and little statues of people without faces. We have nice book cases and dressers and there are toys everywhere. There is a big rug in the center of the room I am not supposed to walk on unless I am barefoot, and every room has some sort of coordinated bedroom set in it. We have dishes and chairs and nice towels. There is always a mess to pick up, always something to do. I rarely do what I want, when I want.

And I have never been happier.

We can live clean, clear, pure lives where nothing gets out of place and everything goes the way we want it to, or we can let go of the selfishness that tells us that what we want is the most important thing and live real lives with people we love.

Our lives will be messy if we have other people in them, but they will be empty if we don’t.

There are things more important that getting what we want, when we want it. In fact, we often aren’t even smart enough to know what it is we really want or what would be best for us. We are probably happiest when we are letting other people complicate things for us.

At least I have been.