Your Last Time

When the situation is hopeless, there’s nothing to worry about

~ Edward Abbey

 

We generally view mundane, everyday tasks as activities to be avoided, or at least rushed to completion. We must get them “out of the way” so we can move onto enjoyable activities. As I recently indicated, I am learning to enjoy the mundane as well as what remains.

I have long enjoyed washing clothes. From my college days using an old and old-fashioned machine with rollers to wring out the water to today’s high-tech, computerized machines, I relish washing the laundry. This mundane task fills my need to keep myself busy without occupying much of my brain: I can ponder the nature of the multiverse while contributing to household “chores.”

My friend Paul loves washing dishes. When he visits, we can hardly keep him out of the kitchen as dinner draws to a close. Given his thoughtful nature, I suspect Paul is thinking as he works.

Most people reading these words do not have a staff to assist with the cooking and cleaning. We are therefore responsible for taking care of ourselves and the homes we are privileged enough to occupy.

Considering the amount of time most of us “toil” at mundane tasks, it seems likely most of us will die either in the midst of such activity or having recently completed the same. Perhaps one of us will experience the trifecta of the mundane by (1) dying in the midst of taking out the trash as (2) we anticipate putting dirty clothes in the washing machine while (3) covered in filth from cleaning the toilet.

In other words, your last time at doing anything — at doing everything — will happen. It will happen in the not-too-distant future. How you choose to perform your final acts is an indication of your character, as well as your willingness to contribute to your (very) local human community.

With a little effort, you can make the mundane bearable. With a little more effort, you can live mindfully and enjoy the tasks that bring misery to some people.