The Daily Man-Up

May 8, 2018 | No Comments » | Topics: Man-Up

(photo: @plqmr)

When I was a child, Oma [my grandmother] would always complain that I never made my bed. And I always thought, well, what’s the point of making the bed? At the end of the day I’m going to sleep in it and it’s going to get messy again.

But as an adult I started to realise that with a lot of people, that attitude starts to creep into other things. They think, well, why should I do my washing up? It’s only going to get dirty again. Why should I sweep the floor? I’ll only have to do it again tomorrow. And it’s true that in the end, in the scheme of things, it doesn’t matter if you leave your washing up til the next day, or if you throw your clothes on the floor when you take them off.

But sometimes, especially when people get old or sick and find it more difficult to keep on top of these things, that way of thinking gradually builds up over the years. Eventually it turns into, well, if I don’t go out then why does it matter if I wear the same stained shirt every day for a week? Why does it matter if my house is full of mould and cat pee, if no-one ever comes round? And with some of them it even gets to the point where they do go out in their dirty shirt or invite people round to their stinking house, because it’s been going on for so long that they don’t even realise anymore that other people don’t live like that.

And so now I try to find a balance in my own life. If I have two hours free, sometimes I make a conscious choice: would I rather spend it cleaning or reading a book? And most of the time I choose to read, because you can take a lot of time keeping your house perfect, and I don’t want to spend my whole life tidying.

But other times it’s just laziness, and I catch myself thinking that I can’t be bothered to wash up or put things away even though I know it would only take a minute, and I think it’s important to keep fighting that. Because in the end, you could ask what’s the point of anything. Why should I exercise if I have to keep training for the rest of my life to stay fit? Why should I eat better if I’m going to get unhealthy again as soon as I stop? Why should I get out of bed at all, when one day we’re all going to die and nothing I do will make a difference?

Imagine you live in a house on the beach, and at the end of the garden is a wall that protects your house from the sea. Every day a little bit of the wall gets eroded away, and from time to time you have to do some minor repairs. You can ask, what’s the point to repair it if your work is going to be undone soon anyway? But if you don’t do it then one day your house is going to fall into the sea, and then you really have a problem.

So now I think, it doesn’t matter if you sleep in the bed again at the end of the day, because your life happens when you’re awake. And during that time you can have a tidy bed or not, it’s not going to change the world. But it’s not really about making the bed – it’s about fighting that bigger decay. If you keep making the right choices, then for each one you make you’ll feel a tiny bit better about yourself. And if you add up all those tiny bits, maybe then your life will get better.