Home YOU ASK - WE ANSWER Senior Clean Freak Laments: If I Go On a Cruise, I'll see Dirt Everywhere
Senior Clean Freak Laments: If I Go On a Cruise, I'll see Dirt Everywhere PDF Print E-mail

Q: I’m a 68-year-old retired surgical nurse, and should be able to handle all situations. But when friends invited me to join them on a cruise, I lied about a family visit scheduled. The truth is that after years of supervising hospital medical and janitorial staffs in ERs, I’m still crazily obsessed with cleanliness. Before I leave my house every day I spend an hour vacuuming and dusting. I’d very much like to take that cruise, but how can I do it without being a pain-in-the-neck clean freak?

Cleaning lady


A: Travel55Plus.com staff members have a name for you. It’s my Mom! Each of us was raised by a lady who had the same obsession for cleanliness as you do. Otherwise today we’d all be wearing unwashed underwear and socks for weeks and sleeping in pigsty bedrooms.

If you travel by land, you’d probably find some reasons to be critical of a dingy little hotel in Paris or grungy bed and breakfast in Budapest, but major cruise ship lines are as obsessive about cleanliness as you are, if not more so. Once aboard, you’ll see crew people constantly scrubbing and cleaning everything throughout the ship, including a daily thorough session in your stateroom.

Try to step down a bit from your super-high standards, and break yourself of your constant need for hospital-like cleanliness. If you feel you can’t quite let yourself go, talk with friends who’ve recently cruised and tell them of your concerns. Maybe a session with your family physician can help overcome those fears.

Go ahead and sign up for that cruise. In the days before you leave, cut back gradually on your most obsessive actions. Instead of fussing every day, clean the house once a week. Let the dust accumulate for two weeks. If you now change clothing several times a day, start wearing the same duds for two days.

In other words, just will yourself to relax, sit back and enjoy your retirement years, whether on dry land or on an ocean cruise.

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