Sometimes, I feel as if my head will explode if I read or write another sentence. As a Spanish major in undergrad, I was able to disassociate with the act of reading and writing non-stop because I loved the additional challenge of training myself to think in another language. But now that I'm studying creative writing in grad school, all my coursework in my native English, sometimes I just can't get my mind to take in words, and produce other words about those word, or produce words of my own. It's like I completely forget how words work.
Of course, the temptation is always there to play "Animal Crossing" or look at clothes I can't afford on Etsy or watch old "Cheers" episodes on Netflix. Or just put a record on listen to it while drinking a beer.
But here's the other thing. I'm super busy, and it often shows in the cleanliness of my house. I am a full-time student, with multiple jobs and volunteer positions on campus. In bad traffic, it can take almost an hour for me to travel between my house and campus. And I love everything I do for the school, but when I get home on Wednesday nights after being on campus for 11 hours, I don't necessarily feel like doing dishes or re-shelving the three books I've read in the past week, and things can pile up. I'm not the neatest person to begin with, so this can really result in a clutter-apocalypse
But when I clean, I really clean. I scrub the fronts of all my cabinets. I dust all the random figurines I've impulsively picked up in thrift stores through the years. And it's pretty funny how often I go into cleaning mode on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, which I've adopted as my schoolwork days. I am writing this on a Sunday morning, ahead of the deadline so that I can prepare for a conference this weekend, but my first impulse when I woke up this morning was to zip my laptop up in its case and clean something.
Cleaning is not entirely mindless; in some ways, it demands the same attention to detail as writing does. But I won't kick myself for a week if I miss a spot while cleaning the bathtub, in the way that I would if I made a grade-school level grammatical era in a school assignment. And cleaning provides physical activity that homework does not (I can read an airport novel on an elliptical machine just fine, but reading "Mrs. Dalloway" while on exercise equipment is an absolute no-go), so any mental taxations sort of falls to the wayside. My resolve to go to the gym regularly dissolved when I started grad school, so many weeks, short walks on campus and cleaning are the only forms of exercise I get.
I can still drink beer and listen to a record when I clean the house, but unlike gaming or window-shopping, I come away from my favorite form of procrastination applauding myself for exercising, and for making the house look nice. And then I discover, when the coffee table is de-cluttered and I have clean clothes to wear and the air in the house smells like something other than garlic and dog, it's just a little easier to get schoolwork done. It all comes full-circle.
That being said, the house always gets messy again within the week. Like it is right now.
So with that, I will bid you adieu and go scrub my bathtub. Hope I don't miss a spot, but it's no big deal if I do.