Productivity can be measured just as effectively in healthy choices as tasks accomplished.
I have never been adept at housecleaning. I think it relates to my inclination toward hoarding. Clutter feels safer; parting with things I might need – my unborn children might need, unborn children on another continent might need – is painful and frightening. Since childhood, whenever I am faced with the generic assignment to tidy a room I grow over-focused and overwhelmed; eventually spinning myself into a frenzied circular pattern of picking up and putting down, opening and closing, getting nothing done.
I have a houseguest for the week. I spent Friday morning cleaning like a mad woman (no pun intended) to create a space in my apartment hospitable for another human lifeform. A switch flipped, and with the motivation of impending company I think I did quite well – constant stream of music, positive self-talk, switching rooms every hour, eating at regular intervals. The place wasn’t perfect, but there were huge improvements and I worked around previous hang-ups to accomplish my goals.
By the time of my guest’s arrival Saturday evening, the only room not passable was the kitchen. I was okay with that; I figured my guest could occupy herself in a less hostile area long enough for me suit up and de-escalate the kitchen from defcon HAZMAT. The truly magical part is, with just the added element of another person there, I conquered dishes I’ve been avoiding for…ahem, well, let’s just say there are multiple reasons Spaz wears gloves to do the dishes. I faced them with no fear or anxiety; my attack was systematic and completely devoid of dread.
This entire experience gives me insight on how to take care of myself with regards to home maintenance in the future. Perhaps instead of waiting for that moment of bright and shiny to throw a shindig, I’ll set a date and use that as momentum. Perhaps I also could stand to be a teeeeeeny bit more transparent and ask for someone to sit and chat with me whilst I do the dishes.
I’m kind of in a funk today. Been under a cloud for days. It scares me a little. I keep checking the grass. That was always my litmus test, the grass. When it loses its green, when the roadside flowers fade, when all of God’s colors turn to grey like ash after even the hard heat of fire dies…then I’m in trouble. I fight back tears in public and superfluous sleep at home, but the reds and the blues and – God bless them – the greens maintain their integrity.
And so I tell myself it’s just a funk, and I make plans to clean my apartment when I know that planning is just postponing.
I make lists of the things I hate to remind myself that I can hate; and lists of the people who love to hear from me; and lists of the things and activities that keep my life running smoothly so I will continue to do some of them some of the time until the funk passes.
I need to keep caring. I NEED to hold onto that spark of give-a-damn. It’s slipping. And I know, next goes the grass.
Sacrifice doesn’t ask how we feel. Discipline doesn’t care much either.
The morning’s saga of de-HAZMAT-ing my too long neglected kitchen:
9:00 am – Praying for fortitude.
9:01-9:15 am – Lying on the sofa pretending God doesn’t speak English, and that my prayer for motivation with the dishes is as good as unanswered.
9:15 am – Praying again.
9:16 am – Getting up, adding Janelle Monae to my OneRepublic Pandora station, and promptly sitting back down to read celebrity gossip news online. Megan Fox’s life is REALLY interesting.
9:56 am – Feeling the music, yes! Lighting incense cuz it’s GO time! Running water in the sink for the ready dishes and a bucket for the stubborn ones.
10:10 am – Washing dishes! Woo!
10:15 am – Rinsing my right glove and patting it dry to give a “thumbs up” to the awesome song that’s playing.
10:17 am – Washing dishes! Woo!
10:25 am – Rinsing my right glove and patting it dry so I can give a “thumbs up” to the awesome song that’s playing…as well as two other awesome songs five songs back.
10:27 am – Washing dishes! Woo!
10:32 am – Rinsing my right glove and patting it dry so I can give a “thumbs DOWN” to the random song killing my groove.
10:34 am – Washing dishes! Woo!
10:45 am – washing dishes. woo. Except without the groove. The groove is gone; it’s dead; it is NOT in the house. My back is hurting, I swear the dirty dishes are multiplying, and as the dishwasher is approaching full it is creeping over me that I have NO clue where my forks are. How can it be that I have no cutlery? Taking quick inventory I’m finding plates, pots, pans, a new and newly soiled blender, two sets of crappy should-be-sharp knives, and somehow no spoons, forks, or butter knives? Worse still the question persisting is how long have they been missing?
10:50 am – Continuing to load each tiny heavy dish one by one in the kitchen that time forgot.
11:01 am – Emptying sink, emptying bucket, filling Brita water pitcher, restoring the groove to my Pandora station, slumping over oj, wishing the oj was a mimosa.
First round done.