“If it might touch your bum, we want it to be really clean.”

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.

Cleaning Selfie
Very Serious Housecleaning #Selfie. Sports bra and shorts, scrubbing up a storm. (via Instagram)

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!

“If it might touch your bum, we want it to be really clean.”

The last two months

The bike path near our apartment offers beautiful views. (My pasty legs ruin them, though.)

Today, I looked at The Verbal Thing for the first time in a while. I logged into WordPress, went to my dashboard, approved some Pingback comments and realized that I haven’t published a post since March (despite having plenty of drafts to work from). At first, I was irritated with myself. For a while, I was doing really well with publishing regular posts, fleshing out my content and making this space more of what I’ve wanted it to be since it was first conceived. But then, I realized that my two most recent posts were published the week that I packed up my belongings, left my parents’ house in New Hampshire and moved to Rhode Island.

It’s been just over two months since those last two posts were published, and in that time, I’ve learned a number of life lessons, both expected and really unexpected. Living on your own, post-grad, with actual bills is totally different than “living on your own”, in college, eating all of your meals at a dining hall and never having to worry about whether the dorm will have heat or Internet or cable access. Rather than bore you with all of the details of these Very Interesting Lessons (because as we’ve established, I’m kind of a drama queen and not always a very good storyteller), I’ve decided to just… make a list.

Things I Learned at Ages 23-24, After Leaving My Parents’ House, To Live in a Totally Different State with My Best Friend

  1. It is never a bad idea to check your tires for air pressure and wholeness before leaving somewhere (be it your apartment, your place of work, the gas station, the mechanic, the grocery store, anywhere).
  2. It is an especially good idea to pay attention to noises your car is making and take it to a mechanic if those noises are particularly worrisome.
  3. It is always going to be mind-numbingly expensive to fix your car, no matter how well it seems to drive, especially when you lived on a dirt road for two years and have now moved to a state where the potholes are numerous and wide enough to swallow your vehicle whole.
  4. Living away from your parents means that there is no one to yell at you for not doing the dishes.
  5. Despite how awesome #4 sounds in theory, the dishes still, in fact, have to get done. Eventually, you start yelling at yourself to do them, just so you don’t have to think about them anymore.
  6. Cleaning something really thoroughly makes you feel really, really good about your day.
  7. Baking soda is, in fact, an inexpensive but effective miracle cleaner.
  8. Some vacuums require assembly.
  9. Ikea furniture will cause arguments that seem silly, but are ultimately about things that are much bigger than The Fact That You Didn’t Put the Drawer Together Correctly and Now It Can’t Be Fixed.
  10. Communicating with your roommate is of the utmost importance, including (and especially) when you are both frustrated and don’t really want to communicate at all.
  11. You can subsist on nothing but grilled cheese and quesadillas for days at a time.
  12. You cannot do everything completely on your own. Asking for help does not equate with failure.
  13. Doing laundry at the local laundromat is disgustingly expensive.
  14. To amend #12, most things are disgustingly expensive. You still have to pay for them.
  15. There might not always be Enough Money, but in the end, you will always Figure It Out.
The last two months

Mixtape: I hope you wanna let go

Accidental matching move-in day flannels.
Accidental matching move-in day flannels.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that moving is a pain in the ass. I had never truly realized just how much moving sucks until this week, when I packed up all my stuff and drove it from my parents’ house in the middle of New Hampshire to my new apartment in Rhode Island. Actually, let me amend that — I made one trip down a couple weeks ago with about half of my stuff, and attempted to cram the other half into my sub-compact car two days ago. Needless to say, even with my mom’s professionally-honed moving (a.k.a. Real Life Tetris) skills, I had to leave some stuff behind.

I’m currently working on developing a new Internet space with my new roommate, AR, to document all of our fun apartment projects. I also start a brand new job tomorrow morning and soon, we get to go shopping for furniture so that there are actual places to sit! My goal is to write a more in-depth, extensive post chronicling my moving experience soon, but for the time being, I wanted to share the mix I finished today in honor of the occasion.

As much as I love my parents, I never had any intention of moving back in with them after I graduated college. I intended to move to a city, go to graduate school, become a professor and read a lot of Shakespeare. I’ve written before, in other places on the Internet, about the wide-eyed naivete with which I entered college, expecting everything to be just like my dreams once I left. But now I’ve officially moved out of my parents’ house and in with my best friend, and while that’s really amazing it’s also kind of terrifying. This mix contains some tunes that reflect those feelings:

Mix_MovingI hope you wanna let go

Mixtape: I hope you wanna let go