We struggle with, agonize over and bluster heroically about the great questions of life when the answers to most of these lie hidden in our attitude toward the thousand minor details of each day
I know that for me, the detritus of everyday life is a PITA. No better way to put it. I resent that I spend a good chunk of each Saturday (sometimes Fridays) grocery shopping, running to whatever store it is that has whatever we need. Yes, I could order it all from Amazon but I don’t need to encourage that behemoth any more than I do already with my addictive reading habit.
Do you get sick of the repetitive mundane tasks of life? You must. We all do…
It could be shopping, cooking, laundry, house cleaning, something gripes your behind. Mowing the lawn? Vacuuming? Pet hair that is *everywhere* when you are so smart as to have black, white and brown colored dogs? (genius here…) No hope for camouflage, something will always stand out. There’s something.
Robert Grudin’s quote up above caught my eye because it’s about attitude. I hadn’t thought about attitude as it relates to everyday tasks. They’re a necessary evil to get through, right? Sometimes I can muster up philosophical reality about how I’m lucky, I’m privileged, that I shouldn’t bitch when others are going hungry, when others would give anything to have decisions to make, freedom to make them, part of a day to dedicate to servicing those needs. Yep, first-world problems.
You know what? That noble attitude is not where I live. I have to remember it and most times, I don’t. It also doesn’t work for me, it makes me feel guilty for being a schmuck and not remembering how very lucky I am. Guilt is not often very useful, I try to avoid it.
What I’m exploring in my head and realizing in my heart is the notion that how you do the little things is how you do everything. Everything.
That’s sobering, because sometimes my attitude is not stellar. (Deep, very rude laughs from people who know me IRL) Most of the time it’s unconscious. I don’t want to look back on my life at whatever age and realize, I sleep-walked through a good 1/3 or ¼ of it! Gods, what if it’s more than that?!? If it’s precious, it deserves to be attended to. Maybe not grumbled about under my breath. Oh, it wasn’t under my breath? Uhmm…
So….Seriously? Having a ‘good attitude’ toward groceries? Are you fahking kidding me? Nope, I’m thinking instead, what about being awake and aware during grocery shopping? What about paying attention to your actual life? We give away so much to unconsciousness, too much. Me included.
Doing things on autopilot is robbing us of actual lived time. Lived life. We are handing lived life over to whatever soothes us into oblivion, whether it’s our phones, grumbly head-trash, resentment, a grim determination to Get This Over With (ahem).
Are you willing to continue self-anesthetizing? If you want that, my darlings, go for it. Enjoy yourselves, wallow in it. Rub it in your hair. I cannot decide for you.
But if you want something different…you’ll have to do something different.
Today I’m headed for the store to pick up a bottle of cold medicine, the resident teenager needs help with a rotten snotty-nosed miserable cold. What do you think he would give to be able to breathe normally? Rest well? Not be a human drip faucet? (What do you think I’m willing to give to not get this cold myself?!!?)
I’m going to pay attention to every step as I get in the car, drive there, select meds that work for him, pay and drive home before work. Whenever I’ve done this in the past – paid deliberate attention – it has rocked my world. I couldn’t do it all the time!
It’s not that the task is wonderful because let’s be real, it’s not. It’s that my attitude makes all the difference and the thousand minor details of each day? Those make up a good chunk of actual life. They are life. Even mundane, I don’t want to give away any more of it than I already have.