Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Making Friends with Monotony
Photo by KaCey97007.
I got laid off from my job a few weeks ago, and I find myself rattling around in the house like one lone marble trapped in a pickle jar. It's not like I have nothing to do - I have tons to do! But, being one lone marble who prefers the company of other marbles, I rattle around and flit from activity to activity, while accomplishing not so much.
The problem, I see now, is that I float mindlessly through my day until something outside myself (an email, a phone call, a meeting, an editing assignment) breaks the monotony for me. I check my email over and over, waiting to hear from an editor. I surf the web until a friend calls. I move from thing to thing and don't follow through unless the activity is nailed to a deadline. This leaves me with half-vacuumed carpets unless company is coming, half-read books unless it's for an assignment that's due, and half-written articles (lots of them!) unless an editor is knocking on my door. (It also leads to far too many trips to the refrigerator, which has led to larger numbers on my bathroom scale.) Something must be done about this!
The cure, I finally realized, is to make friends with monotony, the fabric of life. Monotony is the main stuff. The calls from editors, the vacations to Maui, and all the other fun things are the sparkles in my fabric. But it's mostly monotony. Or, the commonplace, if you prefer.
So my goal for February is to strengthen my endurance muscles in dealing with the ordinary. I will choose something mundane and plain like doing the laundry, and I will finish the task to the end. I will inhale the clean smell of the dryer sheets, I will savor the quiet of the house as I fold. In short, I will practice enjoying all the little bits that are "doing the laundry." And I will not be distracted until the task is done.
Soon, my everyday life - in all its glorious monotony - will be a thing of beauty in itself. With or without the sparkly calls from the editors.