Here’s the thing: I’m generally the type of person who’s pretty in control of what’s happening in her life. But I’m also a really emotional person, someone who sometimes gets too caught up in one thing and forgets to pay attention to everything else. Trying to juggle all of the responsibilities of being a Real Adult is difficult for everyone, I think, but especially when you’re just getting used to living out of your parents’ house and having to really provide for yourself in every sense of the word. I’m lucky to have an incredible roommate and a growing support system to help me with that, but I’ve still been struggling to get my shit together, and that’s been really frustrating.
After a few recent kicks in the ass from Life concerning my tendency to procrastinate and my bad habit of half-assing several things simultaneously, rather than whole-assing one thing at a time (thanks for that terminology, Ron Swanson), I came home last night and had a small breakdown about it all. Then, at the suggestion of my roommate, I made a list of things that are good in my life. I watched a stupid MTV show that made me laugh until my sides hurt and went to bed with a determination to start balancing my world again.
This morning, I meditated for the first time in weeks. I had a delicious cup of Constant Comment tea with agave nectar. I flicked through a few news sites on my phone. And after I dropped off my roommate at work, I came home, finished re-reading The Looking Glass Wars, took a nap, and got to work cleaning the apartment.
Listen. If your life is out of order, clean your apartment. Seriously. I’ve never been someone who enjoys cleaning (and even now, I get easily grossed out, but my tendency to gag has been steadily declining, which I’ll call a win) but there’s something really refreshing about the act. It’s almost as if getting your apartment in order acts as a first step to getting yourself in order. Living in a clean place makes everything else feel a hell of a lot easier to conquer.
Today I swept and Swiffer’d the floors, scrubbed the bathroom sink, scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed at the toilet bowl, cleaned the tub, and even wiped down the two mirrors we have with some Windex so that they’re super clean. (As a bonus, that will contribute to mirror-selfie quality, which is obviously Very Important.) The place looks good and smells great and I feel like I’ve accomplished something huge.
My roommate constantly tells me that they like to clean, which has always seemed weird to me, but the longer I live with them and the more I help keep the place in order, the more I realize that they’re kind of onto something. Today when I busted out the baking soda to clean the tub and got down on my hands and knees to scrub sticky bits off the kitchen floor with Goo Gone and sprayed Method and Mrs. Meyer’s yummy-smelling cleaning stuff on sponges and scrubby brushes and paper towels, every bit of dirt that I picked up made me feel a little more focused and a little more in control. It’s a pretty cool feeling.
I’m taking a break to write this post before I delve into doing the dishes (including wiping down the dish rack and cleaning the counter underneath), but I feel good. I think getting overwhelmed by Life is normal, but for whatever reason, lately it’s felt like Life has been conspiring against me in every possible way. It’s not a good feeling, but I decided as I was cleaning that I won’t linger on it. Shit happens and the important thing is to do what you can with what you can. That’s a lesson I’m still learning.
I’ve made a mental to-do list for the upcoming week and I’ve made a promise to myself to start some new, healthy routines. People are messy and sometimes I get extra messy, but that doesn’t mean I can’t take back control and start exceeding my own expectations again. I started with simple stuff, like tea and cleaning (man, cleaning!) and this week, I’ll do more of the complex stuff, like paying bills and making scary phone calls. I can do this Adult thing. I totally, totally can.
I had no idea that this kind of resolve could come from something like scrubbing a toilet, but if I had, I would have gotten into the cleaning thing years ago. If you have other suggestions for ways to redirect about the trajectory of your life, please leave them in the comments!