Guest post by Caron Somers
Can’t tell you how many times I have heard people say how glad they are that the holidays are over because now life can get back to normal. Normal? What does normal really look like? But I suppose instead of normal some of us are wanting peace and calm and nothing to ruffle our feathers. About now I am longing for sunshine and dry grass, flowers to start springing up and veggies to start poking their heads out of the ground. It’s not time, I know that, but I long for it.
So instead of wasting time being wistful, I am teaching myself to find the simple and appreciate it. Much like a scavenger hunt, finding simple can be difficult. There is too much in the way, too much to do – who has time to appreciate simple? But I am trying and most days I discover simple in the most inane places.
For example, last week I took a two day job cleaning a building that had recently been renovated. The lady who hired me said it was ‘fine detail cleaning, nothing more than what you’d do at home’. The money was good and to be honest, it was my main incentive and how hard could two days of cleaning be? Who knew I’d be cleaning up after painters who didn’t know what a drop cloth was? Hours were spent on my hands and knees picking paint off the newly laid floor.
There was one long, long hallway where I sat down on the floor and inched myself along as I picked off paint. Several times the general manager would come by to check on progress and look aghast at me inching along his floor (did I mention he had the perfect British accent and dressed so well that he could have been going to the yacht club?). I simply smiled each time and waved my little oily rag at him and resisted the urge to yell out “I HAVE THREE DEGREES YOU KNOW!”.
Appreciating the simple came by the end of the first day, despite sore, aching muscles. Residents started coming by and like excited children, would point out the improvements and smile approvingly. The cleaning supplies were plentiful, protective gloves and masks were available and I got to use fancy mops that I’d never used before. The floor started to shine after a dozen washes and there was not a drop of paint to be seen anywhere.
More than anything, I appreciated my life more and the fact that I didn’t have to do hard labour in my every day life. At the coffee shop that morning I stood around with plumbers, painters, cleaners and felt like a part of their sorority. I too had a rag stuffed in my back pocket and smelled like cleaning fluid, we all belonged and it felt good.
I practiced seeing the good in the simple and it worked, by the second day I was giddy with the fact that this was my last day. Corners were examined and nooks and crannies were explored in the hopes of finding dust or paint. By the end of the day windows were shining and more and more residents came down and started looking at me as if I alone had done the renos and cleaned it all up just for them. When they came down in their walkers and wheelchairs with their friends and their families, I began giving tours of all the rooms pointing out details like a seasoned realtor.
What I had thought was an isolating, grueling job suddenly took on a life of its own and I got caught up in their excitement. No more was I cleaning just to do a job, I was cleaning for these lovely men and women! Now they had more rooms to visit, read books, do puzzles and indulge in conversation. I was a part of their community if only for a very short time and I was one of them! Sometimes enjoying the simple means not focusing on only what we can see in front of us, but looking down the road and seeing what we’re a part of. We’re the puzzle piece that the community is looking for, we’re it. So instead of dreading your next task, or worse still, procrastinating on doing something, think about the end result and how you’re doing your part to complete the community puzzle.