Mark my words, one day it will happen to you, too.
Maybe you'll be sitting in your car in the middle of rush-hour traffic during your one-hour commute to work. (Me? Bitter? Never!) Maybe you'll be standing dumbfounded in the middle of your messy kitchen next to that sink full of dirty dishes that you can't seem to find time to wash, wondering if perhaps you should just dump the entire load in the trash and call it a day. (True story...) Or maybe you'll be making a list of all of your to-do lists, because you've taken on so many commitments that in order to maintain the illusion of sanity you now have to keep lists of lists. (Also a true story…)
You will suddenly look up, as if startled from a deep hibernation that has spanned the last 25 years of your life, and a soft, barely audible "Why?" will escape your lips.
Why? Why am I doing this? Why can't my life be more exciting? Is this really all there is to life? What is the purpose of life anyway?
Melodramatics aside, everyday life is filled to the brim with mundanity. We go through the motions, habits and thought cycles ingrained in our brains over the years without much forethought or intention, and frankly, our lives have become little more than a collection of boring meetings and disposable coffee cups and errands and schedules and dirty dishes and to-do lists – lists filled with hundreds and thousands of tasks whose completion no longer brings us joy or satisfaction.
While the bigger part of me wants to pound my head on the table at the idea of mundanity (much like I would at the idea of yet another boring meeting), the other, more rational (albeit much, much smaller) part of me knows full well that mundanity is simply a part of life as an adult.
But I refuse to make it a part of mine – and not because instead of washing dishes I occasionally have the (very un-adultlike) urge to simply dump them all in the trash. No, my life is lively, dazzling, exciting and far from mundane simply because I declared it that way.
Think about that for a second, the idea of finding joy in a duty-bound life.
Let's go back to the sink full of dirty dishes. What if you washed the dishes but first said you are doing this as a service to your family or as a way of practicing self-discipline? Doing the dishes would suddenly take on much more importance and would cease to be just another mundane task on your to-do list. What if driving to work was done after mentally declaring an intention to touch the lives of those around you? The hour-long commute might become far more enjoyable and purposeful.
Every mundane task would suddenly transform into an opportunity for personal growth, or at the very least an opportunity to sing a song at the top of your lungs (yes, I am that woman pretending to be in a music video while I stand next to you in traffic).
The key to banishing mundanity is to declare your life extraordinary and to make a conscious, daily decision to live life with intention rather than simply existing from day to day, in wait of an exciting plot twist.
"For I have learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not upon our circumstances." – Martha Washington
I encourage you to make a mental shift as you go through your daily routines and seemingly mundane day-to-day tasks, and you will notice that these ordinary tasks add up to form one extraordinary, beautiful life.
I would love to hear stories of how you find joy in the everyday.