“Any idiot can face a crisis – it’s day to day living that wears you out.” Anton Chekhov
Never a truer word. I have noticed of late a peculiar state of personal being that I find both bemusing and annoying. I get out of bed on a work day, amble around muttering to myself how tired I am, and walking around slowly as my body warms up. Then any walk from car to appointment is equally labour-intensive.
But when I have a personal, mission-related activity that needs getting done – I walk quickly, for long periods, around a town centre where I bemoan everyone else – because they are ambling around, suddenly stopping in the doorway as they leave a shop (are they so amazed that there is an ‘outside’ that they forget what it was they were going to do next?), or just not looking where they are (barely) going. How very dare act they as I did when I felt like that?
Chekhov was right – routine wears you down, excitement overcomes the largesse of ‘just living’.
How can we use that observation? Two things come to mind.
- Whatever excites you usually relates to your values, mission and sense of meaning.
- We have a tendency to forget about the meaning that exists in just living.
The first reason needs no explanation (but here goes). When we are doing something we are passionate about, we don’t get tired or bored. We may find some of the activities tiresome, but knowing our purpose we make allowances and muddle through the tedious tasks.
The second reason needs addressing. It relates to the Third Resolution, where we overcome aspiration and ambition in an effort to serve a noble purpose.
Most people view ‘service’ as the provision of something extra, something inconvenient or some financial or time-generous act that serves people other than ourselves, or our families.
I don’t. I view service to others as including service to our families, which means that (when I remember that!) any activity, even routine, that serves my family invokes within me just a little bit of passion and a little burst of energy. As a 60/70s child my past was “Dad works, Mum looks after the home” background. By chance rather than design, that’s how I have lived my own married life. So when I pick up a broom/vacuum cleaner or duster, I get energised because I am serving my family by maintaining a nurturing environment. (Friends reading this are now peeing themselves laughing….)
Overcome the un-energising effect of routine drudgery by recognising when you are doing it for someone else, and realise that even small things matter to others. Even when you do feel worn out, it’s a much happier feeling.