We are creatures of habit. We think certain ways that set the standards for our everyday activities. What if we changed our standards a bit. Could we live a more relaxed life, and enjoy our time more?
Some people have set standards of living that dictate what they do. As an example, there are those that think that grass over three inches long is an eyesore. You know who they are, because every weekend they are out there on the business end of a lawn mower, or have hired someone to cut their grass. I know a man who was from Connecticut, and moved to Florida. So disgusted with Florida’s bugs, he had an exterminator spray every inch of his house, every three months. To prepare for the bug man, he would empty out the entire contents of his garage, and put them outside. The whole day was taken up with this ceremony. He loved it. There was not one bug within a block of this man’s house, and that was good, because I lived next door. But I had to close all my windows when it was taking place.
Controlling the environment is a pasttime that many people feel is worthy of their time. Monthly clipping of hedges, edging of the grass along the driveway, trimming of small branches of trees, and raking up each and every leaf that has fallen gives some the feeling of triumph over nature. They are very proud of how their homes look to those passing by. Would it shock them to know that most people do not care one way or another how the house looks? It’s not their house, and unless they pass it every day, they won’t see it again for another year.
Fixing a hot, balanced, three course meal for the family is important to some people, at every evening meal. The idea of simply having some fruit, a piece of cheese or some yogurt for dinner is unthinkable. Then there are the dishes. Use paper plates? Unthinkable.
Housekeeping is important, but some of us spend every second cleaning. Cleaning is next to breathing for some, and these folks can’t walk from one room to another without picking a piece of lint off the rug, and carefully putting it in the trash can, which gets emptied every night whether it is even half full, and even if it only has some paper in it.
Our parents’ teachings and examples have left heavy marks on our lives. Standards are also ingrained from people we have known, who instilled in us feelings of pride, responsibility, guilt, obligation and ancestral standards. We may have grown up knowing what was expected of us, and now as adults, we have become robots to these standards. We never set our own. We may have never thought about it, and some of these collossal time-wasters became a part of who we think we are.
Many people know, on some level, or suspect that they are a slave to standards that were set by someone else. They may toy with the idea of moving some pieces around, to lighten the load of responsibility. This may come only when they have reached an age to where physical incapacities force them to. Many older folks bemoan their inability to vacuum every day, and will criticize hired help who does it for them, because it may not be up to their standards, or their ancestors’ standards, more to the point.
Can we change these very basic teachings once we get older? Are we always going to be victims of someone else’s standards? Discomfort in changing habits can only be ofset by realizing that the time and effort we save by finding less time-consuming ways of doing things can bring us much more satisfaction and pleasure.
Learning to view our natural world as it was intended to be, may help us relax more into it. Finding a more natural rhythm in our day and our environment can bring peace and tranquility.