I was feeling grumpy after I mopped the floor in my house the other day … It’s back-breaking work gathering up the loose stuff on the floor, bending up and down as I did so.
And as I curse under my breath at myself for leaving pairs of shoes by the shoe cabinet which were blocking the mop, it occured to me that cleaning up must be the most reflective of all activities carried out by mankind.
I think cleanliness is such a unique human experience. You know that sense of peace when you’ve just cleared out the mess in your drawers. The state of calm when you’re in a clean and tidy place. Human beings need to be clean and tidy to maintain that inner serenity and general sense of happiness.
But human beings also have this huge ability to create and chalk up piles of mess. Cleaning up is therefore one of those activities in life that can teach us the immense value of responsibility.
And if anyone is starting to think I’m making too much out of this, think Wall-E. We needed to shift out of planet earth cos we made too much of a mess!
It’s a simple concept really. When you have to clean it up, you’ll try not to make a mess. Or if you do make a mess, you clean the shit up later.
But much of cleaning today has been outsourced, in homes to domestic helpers, public places to cleaners. Somebody will clean it up. So people start to disassociate themselves from the mess they make.
And maybe this habit of thinking someone else will clean up our own mess is also carried on to other aspects of our lives.
At work, people who are on the fast track in their careers tend to stay short stints in their positions. This is a good idea to give a person exposure and groom for higher positions.
But what this also does is, people may adopt a short-term mindset. Score the career goals while at a certain position, but leave the downstream consequences of bad decisions to the next person.
In relationships, people today tend to take a short-term mindset of “relationships should fit my lifestyle” rather than invest in rich and deep connections with people. We also neglect that relationship needs tidying, and any unresolved loose end today could lead to a messier tangling of different issues in the future.
This tendency to “crap all over the place and leave someone else to the mess” can also be seen in the online world. We forget that each harsh word we say will lead to consequences, and these consequences will someday trip us up like loose wires we forgot to tuck away.
If everyone learn to live a bit more responsibly, learn to pick up our own pieces, learn keep things tidy – i.e. clean up after ourselves, so that we make the space we live in a bit more pleasant. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
The world will be so much better. Start with your own room. (: