The implications of “back to school”*

*Back to school is in quotations because as a janitor, I didn’t actually leave school.  We’re just gearing up for everyone else coming back.

I spent this summer waking up at 5:20AM every day, working to get the school ready for students and teachers.  We are winding down from that (we’ve been wound down for a while – we started out really fast and got done early).  I’m back to late nights (2-10:30PM) without much to do other than dump the trash of the few teachers who have been coming in to set up every day.  It’s been nice that the cleanliness of the school is at a standstill.  We can just look around and say, “we got all that done.”  And we don’t yet have to work to maintain it.  Kids start back on Wednesday, so that will all change in a couple days.

While we were busy though, we were rushing through things.  We scrubbed every desk and chair.  We cleaned surfaces in the rooms, shined the sinks, dusted.  We scrubbed the old wax up off the floors.  I single-handedly waxed every floor.  3 times over.  I’d like to know how many square feet that was.  Tens of thousands?  Maybe even a hundred thousand?  Or a lot more?

It has been a relief to drop back to the later shift and not feel like I’m stumbling, half-awake, in the mornings, just to come home and start dreading about waking up early again.  I had been going to bed at 8:30PM!  My mental health has been better overall, but not great.  I’ve been mildly depressed all summer.

Going back to late nights has been lonely, and strangely, a lot of my worries have centered around what to eat before work.  I need to fit in breakfast and lunch.  I don’t know what to eat.  I also don’t really know what to do, all by myself, other than oversleeping.  I’m forcing myself to do some things I don’t really feel like doing, as of now.  I guess the hope is I will grow into it; I will like it once I’m doing it.  I’m going to be a radio DJ starting pretty soon.  I’m also going to take a writing class.

I’ve been realizing that I’m living with a lot of dread lately.  Whether that’s residual from mental health issues earlier in the year, or whether that’s just me being me, I can’t really figure out.  It’s been helpful to notice it while it’s happening though, and just focus on the here-and-now.  Remind myself that I’m actually fine in whatever I am doing presently, so just be more involved in that, rather than thinking about all the perceived horribleness ahead.

For example, I’m dreading going back to doing the exact same thing, at work, every day.  But, it really is what I make it, from moment to moment.  Unlike most jobs, I don’t have unpredictable things pop up daily, or new challenges to tackle, or people to deal with.  It’s just me, in my head.  I need to remember that it’s important to change what’s on my iPod frequently – new music, new podcasts…  And to talk to people on the phone.  And although I don’t believe her, my therapist keeps telling me that I’m actually in control of my own thoughts.  So I can choose to keep obsessing about something negative, or I can move on to more interesting topics.  In my mind, I am powerless to whatever my brain ends up dwelling on, and I get stuck feeling whatever feelings those thoughts conjure up.  I should work on that…

15 Comments on “The implications of “back to school”*”

  1. Jamie Ray says:

    Sounds like you are doing ok all things considered.

    Audiobooks and Spotify are great to help pass time (I actually only use Spotify from my desktop, but it is also on my phone, and they have lots of playlists that other listeners concocted and many are good and it allows for a pleasant exploration of genres I’m not that familiar with).

    I eat the same breakfast every weekday morning so I don’t have to think about it. It is boring, but I eat a cup of greek yogurt, a cup of puffed Kashi unsweeted cereal, a banana, and a little honey on top. Constructed like a sundae. And coffee. When blueberries are in season I may sub them for the banana, and sometimes I throw a little dried grated coconut on it, but it is pretty basic and it has lots of protein and some carbs. I also carry some unsalted roasted almonds with me incase I get hungry (to keep me from making a bad food choice).

    Liked by 1 person

    • janitorqueer says:

      For music I usually check out cds from the library and then burn them to my computer –> upload them to my iPod. I don’t have a smart phone – otherwise I’d have a lot more options!

      That breakfast sounds really good. I always just have a bowl of cereal. But when blueberries were in season, I mixed blueberries with yogurt every day for part of my lunch. What do you eat for lunch? I’m having a hard time with lunch…


  2. calherel says:

    Boooo back to school ! I hope the next couple of months will be good, despite the return lol :/ I didn’t know janitors did a huge spring cleaning in the summer. Hope you’ll have more of a rest now then.

    And btw, being a radio dj is fun. You get used to it since its routine-like, (2 songs, a talk break, 2 songs, talk break, and it goes on…) But yeah it is scary for the talk break part. I would like to hear it if possible. I also think it’s cool you took a writing class 🙂 I can see you writing a book or something.


  3. There is a balance between the routine and the novel, between the social and the alone. Sometimes, it feels as if nothing is just right.
    I think that this is known as restlessness.

    Be well.


  4. Kris Alexander says:

    Looking forward to the book. Take huge care of yourself.


  5. Vince says:

    I worked as a school cleaner for a while and used to enjoy the summer deep-clean – but yes, it was exhausting too!


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