Thursday, March 16, 2017

To Create, Or To Clean?

That is the question.  Consciously, subconsciously, that seems to be my internal struggle more often than not. It's no wonder that I am so constantly fatigued any more, and that my brain seems to be in a near permanent state of fogginess.

Scenario:  I'm done working at the horse farms for the day. I have my riding gear with me, I could just zip into the barn bathroom and change, then grab my horse and ride.  Yet, I'm tired from working since the sun came up hours and hours ago, and I know more work awaits me at home. Do I ride (create a horse that is a little more athletic, a little more polished in it's training and a rider who is also a little more of each) or do I skip riding and go home to tackle the laundry, sweeping, dish washing, bed making, etc etc etc?

Scenario: I'm home from work (whether I rode or not), I've had my lunch, and there are three to four hours between now and when DH will be home from work (and dinner needs to be on the table, ready to eat).  I have knitting projects, sewing projects, and a counted cross stitch project I could quite happily spend the entire time span working on.  Yet, there are dust bunnies creeping out from under the couch (despite just being evicted last week), a pile of shirts in need of ironing, a cruddy stove top that needs to be cleaned and scrubbed, and muddyfoot prints on the mudroom floor again. (Could we please be done with the freeze/thaw mud cycle of the season?!?) Do I relax my brain creating something lovely with my hands or do I stuff my creativity in the closet for another day and use my hands in less enjoyable pursuits?

Scenario: I have a book calling my name that I've been wanting to read since early January but have made myself finish several library books first, as they have a due date and the book with the siren call is mine all mine.  I know once I start this book, it will be a fast read and that I could finish it in a weekend. Yet, this weekend is also the monthly (FREE!) trash collection at the township hall and I could cut down on a lot of clutter if I rounded up some of the no longer useful/worn out/unrepairable items around this little place here.  Do I grab that book and spent a blissful couple of days in an alternate life as the main character, or do I avert my eyes from the bookshelf, plug my ears, and get down to the business of locating junk to take to the township hall?

Now, this one is really bad.  Scenario:  I have several pair of hand knit socks (some of the first ones I made in 2013) with  worn out spots on heels or balls of the feet.  All they need is to be darned, and they will give me a few more years of use.  I love my hand knit socks.  They fit so well, and they are so warm and comfy.  I have never darned a sock before, but I did look it up last year and the concept seems simple enough.  I'm sure I can do it.  I even acquired a darning egg from one of the local antique malls for a few bucks.  Darning socks could be seen as a chore (fixing something) or as a creative outlet (learning a new skill and 'creating' a usable pair of socks).  Yet, I am the only one who benefits from the repaired socks, and doing a deep cleaning of our bedroom benefits both DH and I.  Do I darn the socks, or do I gut the bedroom, clean it thoroughly, and replace all the furnishings (and closet contents) to their places (and pitching junk into the bin to be taken to the township)?

Most of the time, I automatically choose the less fun option, the chore, the cleaning.  (Oh man, how I hate housework!  I was once offered a job at $10 an hour-- back when minimum wage was $5/hr--cleaning houses and I turned it down because my dislike of cleaning is that strong.  Except stalls; I love cleaning up after horses.  But cleaning up after people sucks.)

It's part a feeling of responsibility and part a guilt reaction (Who doesn't work full time?  Who therefore is in charge of cleaning and running the house?)  This line of thought and action is like torturing myself!  It's like constantly punishing myself by withholding the fun stuff from my life until the not so fun work is completed.  And I have to say, anymore, its like the work will never be completed.  Just when I think I start to get ahead, when I can forecast the ending of the mountain of cleaning, something happens and more is piled on.  DH's work schedule picks up and he is no longer cleaning up after himself, let alone being around to help with heavy household tasks.  A holiday or school break comes and I have a houseful for several days or a week, exponentially multiplying dirty dishes and towels to be washed and food to be purchased and cooked.  We get the grandkids for 24 hours once a week, making not only more things to clean (toys, bedding, dishes, shoes and coats on the mudroom floor. . .), but also taking out pretty much two days from my time that should be spent cleaning.

I can't turn a blind eye, either, because my very nature is that of someone who craves order and organization.  To try to operate in chaos, in clutter, drives me nuts.  So, the more things pile up, be it dust, or DH's unopened mail on the counter, or clean clothes on the laundry counter in need of folding and putting away, or cooking detritus on the stovetop or footprints on the mudroom floor or even couch pillows out of position, the more stressed I feel.  Somebody has to clean this up!  Somebody needs to make order!  Unfortunately, by default that somebody is me.

I dream of a week of vacation. Not the kind of vacation where I go away and then when I get home have to catch up on all the work that didn't get done while I was gone, like every vacation I've ever taken my entire adult life.  A vacation where someone else does the cleaning and all I do is creating.  Whether it's in the form of riding, or reading, or sewing, or knitting, or cross stitching, every waking hour is spent in something enjoyable that lets me satisfy my need to be creative.  I don't even have to do the laundry, because someone else will wash, dry, and put away my clothes for me that week.  I just have to eat (preferably awesome food made by someone else), and create.

Wouldn't that be nice.

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