the mudpond

It's good to let things breathe in your imagination because often your initial response to it is not the best thought-through response. I savour little glimpses of life. Mine and those of people who turn me sideways and around. Friend or stranger. Even a child. (the world looks different from down there) Sometimes an author, photographer, artist. I let things saturate and incubate here. Hopefully, deeper meanings can percolate up and flower.

Name:
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

A stray cat.

11/10/2005

Giving The Noodles A Break

Part two of a six-part series on a Worldview Meme

What is your mood and mindset when performing mundane and/or repetitive everyday tasks?

My mood varies. Today's comforting ritual could be tomorrow's joyless drudge. A routine that feels fulfilling today may not matter a hill of beans the next. It's just the occasionally-out-of-whack hormonal system.

At some level, I resent having to cook and clean, replenish the pantry, use the bathroom, trim my nails ... etc. So I have to constantly watch my mood and invoke my mindset to interpret these activities more favorably.

At default, the mood is that of mild annoyance, at having to divert precious time away from the fun and novel stuff in my life - blogging is one :) Applying mindset as a correction, I can change my mood to neutral-plus-five-percent gratitude with trace levels of residual-grudging. LOL! Okay, okay, so the mindset correction simply places those events into my larger worldview.

No-brainer tasks help me stay healthy for the fun and novel stuff. They 'ground' me firmly to practical necessities. They also allow time-space for ideas to percolate and grow in the background (which takes time cos I'm a little slow on the take), whereas if I didn't do some of this purely reflexive stuff, my germs of ideas will be doomed to never bloom.

So if it's something that involves order/value-creation (cooking, cleaning, filing) or value-delivery (going with mom to the wet market... ugh! ick!), I try to invoke the 'excellence' mindset. teehee :D But I try to do a quality piece of goodness-work (not perfection or OCD level, lah), but something that I won't later look back on and say: "I wish I would have smiled a bit and done that less grudgingly".

But there are a few mundane tasks I actually and positively enjoy as rituals, but mainly for closure reasons.

I LOVE doing the laundry. I love putting them out to dry and folding them after sniffing deeply their sun-toasted warmth. It somehow FEELS GOOD to see the empty basket and the lines bowing a little under the weight of an assortment of linen, inner/outer wear of all shapes, sizes, textures and colors. When it is ALL DONE, when everything is put away in its proper place and the line relaxes back to its taut state, I feel a deep satisfaction settle in. "It's all good", I tell myself.

And I LOVE washing dishes. I love doing this because it is a task that has a concrete closure point. When it is done, it is DONE. The sink is empty. I have literally washed my hands off a messy task.

Closure is wonderful because it lets me move on to the next thing - unencumbered. Without closure, I feel hobbled, unable to devote my fullest attention and resources to the next thing on the conveyor belt of daily life. Everyday mindless tasks give me a strong sense of accomplishment. They give me the kind of closure I NEVER CAN GET in the vast majority of my brain-n-energy-draining 'main projects' in life.

Many of my files are ALWAYS still 'OPEN', for someone might come up with a pushback that forces me to RE-OPEN the case. These are matters with implications, consequences and ramifications that reach so far out and deep, that closure often becomes an elusive or endless and sometime hopeless endeavor.

Like, my 'Culture & Society' file remains perpetually open because the world changes so fast there. Like, as close as we come to finally owning the car we've been FOREVER paying off, and then, in a blink and a snit, we trade in our 'freedom' for a spanking, brand new car. In place of closure and freedom from one debt, we pick up a whopping, grand new debt - to pay from scratch again.

In an age of endless consumption that keeps us chained to the millstone of debt - probably even to the grave - it is the routine, mindless stuff that helps us stay healthy, happy and sane.

Give the noodles a break, I say :)

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4 Comments:

Anonymous xpyre said...

dear god, laundry! probably the most stressful thing i have to do, because it never ends! wash, hang to dry.. then collect, fold, *iron*, arrange

it isn't mindless, it's mind-boggling!

9:00 PM  
Blogger thquah said...

"Closuer" is always part of me. Will always finish all task ASAP.It makes life easier and all other ppl around you appreciatiate it more.hehehe that's me.

9:27 AM  
Blogger percolator said...

xpyre,
I have long learnt to *conveniently* ;P remove the ironing part (I'm positively allergic to this dreadful task!) out of the whole equation. Another way of altering my mindset, when it comes to unpleasant tasks, you might say.

6:46 PM  
Blogger percolator said...

th,
I wish I have even 50% of your very agreeable disposition to make life easier for others and consequently, self .
As it is, I am inclined to laziness and procrastination, particularly when it comes to uninteresting tasks.
If I was so disciplined, I wouldn't have to trot out such crappy stuff as "mindset corrections", would I?.
A lecturer once said to me: "you have such a complicated way of looking at things!". *sigh* He so despaired of my being so slow on the take, I daresay he had to apply quite a bit of mindset corrections when it came to tutoring me!.

7:00 PM  

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