I Haven’t Cleaned My Bathroom in Three Years

Nobody else has either

The other night I was laying in our filthy bathtub which I barely fit in since it’s a standard size tub (are these made for children?). As I stared past the plunger at a mass of cobwebs behind the toilet I found myself thinking “when is it time to start cleaning the bathroom again?”

A few years ago I saw a video by Gary Vaynerchuk where he was talking to a fan who didn’t seem to have the time to work on his passion project. Gary questioned him to find out exactly what he was spending his time doing instead of working towards his goal. The man brought up cleaning the bathroom. Nobody in his house would help clean the bathroom, so if he didn’t do it the bathroom would never get clean. Gary’s response: stop cleaning the fucking bathroom.

It made sense to me at the time. If it’s getting in the way of your goals and it’s not completely necessary for your survival then maybe you shouldn’t be doing it. There are plenty of things we can get away with not doing in the short term that will save us time and energy if we can deal with the consequences. As a husband and father of two who has multiple health concerns, I feel like I need all the breaks I can get. Unfortunately, that attitude over a long enough time can have very negative consequences. Ones you might not even realize until it’s too late. And I’m not talking about mold and mildew.

As the year resets, it seems like a good time to rethink my priorities. Especially since I haven’t done a great job of assessing my priorities in quite a few years. It’s time to think about what my priorities have been, what they need to be, and the whole shebang. Because you can’t avoid cleaning the bathroom forever. Unless you work at a gas station.

I. Health

At a recent checkup with my rheumatologist (I have psoriatic arthritis), my doctor discovered I’ve developed a slight heart murmur. He’s very proud he discovered it, as he feels he has quite the knack for it, so he was smiling in spite of the fact it’s not the best news to receive. I’m not upset, he's a great guy and I love him, it’s just a funny juxtaposition.

After I lost my rather physical warehouse job three years ago I traded in 9 to 5's for self-employment. I’ve basically been sitting in the same chair for three years straight. My only priority has been to somehow scrape together enough money to get by. After multiple loan modifications and credit defaults, all I can tell you is it has become a fate far worse than being check to check. Nevertheless, I persist.

It’s now clear that my persistence has come at the price of my health. My inability to balance work and life in any meaningful way has hit me with a pretty hard wake up call. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t the main reason for this bout of introspection I’m currently on. Without the diagnosis, would anything be changing? I’m not sure, but I hear blessings often come in disguise.

Health is now a top priority for me in 2021. My primary doctor told me many moons ago I needed to lose weight and I haven’t made any progress. I have about 51 lbs to lose to hit the very reasonable goal he and I agreed upon when we last met. I bought a jump rope and have made it a non-negotiable part of my schedule. When I break for lunch I have to exercise before I eat.

I also need to make some small diet adjustments. Let’s just say the real catastrophe of 2020 for me has been the snackdemic. The mantra “it’s okay we’re in a crisis” is not allowed to follow me into 2021 when it comes to food.

II. Mental Health

Towards the end of his life, my father sunk deep into depression. He lamented all the things he could no longer do daily and spoke of all the things he had wanted to do in the future that were no longer possible. In not being able to move on he was robbing himself of whatever joy was still present in his life. This is what depression does to the best of us.

I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety my whole life, but have never been as successful at managing it as I have been in the last year. Unfortunately, I’ve still had some issues, especially when I allowed my therapy appointments to lapse on purpose. Going for an extended period of time without an occasional check-in doesn’t seem to work for me, and that’s okay. This year I’m committed to keeping a regular appointment for therapy and medication.

The main thing my therapist does for me is to help me figure out what’s bothering me and then they force me to make a decision on what to do about it. Then we follow up later. Yes, I’m basically like a giant man-baby sometimes, but that’s okay. I’m getting the help I need.

III. Art

As I noted earlier I’ve been balls to the wall in the glory hole of life trying to get a nut. That is, I’ve been struggling to find financial stability. I’ve been all-in on monetizing something, freelancing, or anything that pays the bills (wink). My only conclusion from three years of this madness is that working non-stop is no way to live.

There’s an artist from the Netherlands who is one year younger than me. Her name is Loish. She has millions of social media followers, has worked on projects I would have killed to have a part in, and makes beautiful art. At the beginning of 2020, she launched her Patreon account in a bid to earn some income that would allow her to focus more time on her own personal art. It worked. At the time of writing this, Loish has 3,337 patrons paying $5 a month to get a look behind the scenes at her art. She’s an inspiration of mine, to say the least.

Meanwhile, I’ve been neglecting my art when it’s the main thing I wanna be working on. Art and writing are my pillars. I’ve tried lots of things but these are the two things I’m happiest doing. They are my things. The thing about that is, I haven’t been making art at all and I’ve let making money unduly influence my writing to the point I no longer recognize it at times.

In the past month, keeping the success Loish had in mind, I’ve been refocusing everything around my goal: to bring more art into the world. That’s what I wanna do. I’m now making more personal art, encouraging artists through my writing, donating 10% of my revenue to arts education organizations, and building a community to support artists. It’s all being funded through my Patreon account. I even made a landing page talking about it here.

And still, I’m probably not gonna clean the bathroom. Gross, I know. I have to admit we do light cleaning in there but definitely don’t hit every nook and cranny. I’ve actually started to have daydreams and fantasies of hiring someone else to come in and clean it all up for me. And I’m not even talking about the busty topless maid service, just some regular bodied fully clothed cleaners. What a turn-on.

The main idea I wanted to share with you today isn’t actually about bathrooms at all. It’s true: I have ingeniously deceived you. The actual point is some things in life aren’t as negotiable as you think they are while others are moreso. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the important things apart from the rest of the noise. Make sure you’re setting the right priorities for yourself to keep your life healthy and balanced, regardless of how clean your bathroom is.

For example, you should take your physical and mental health seriously before they become a problem. You need to build balance into your daily routine. You should make spending time with your family part of your agenda. You know, before they’re gone. If it’s important to you make it a priority in your life right now. Nobody’s gonna do it for you. Much like cleaning your bathroom.

Thanks for reading.

Artist and blogger. I help people bring more art into the world: natedoesart.com

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