There’s a green ball in the doorway to my bedroom. It’s about fifteen inches in diameters so it partially blocks one’s path. It’s been living there, half in my room and half in the hall, for about week. Every day I walk by it and think about putting it away. Yet there it sits, mocking me.
I could pick it up. I don’t.
This is not an, “I didn’t put it here and damned if I’ll clean up other people’s messes” kind of thing. It’s more an, “it’s kind of big and I’m not sure where to put it and usually when I notice, I’m heading into my bedroom and when I leave, I’m intent on doing things not ball-related” kind of thing. Even a kick down the hall seems to be beyond me.
Life is made up of choices and actions. The big ones are easier. The outcomes are more interesting. Get married or don’t. Get treatment or don’t. Go on a vacation or spend the money on home repairs. Stock market or sock in the bedroom. Options abound. We talk about the big choices. We journal. We ask friends, family, and total strangers for input.
Big choices are exciting. But it’s the small choices, the boring and mundane ones, that have an oversized, cumulative impact on our life.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to let small stuff slide.
It’s easy to walk by a ball and do nothing about it. Until one night, you can’t sleep so you head to the kitchen to get a glass of water and trip over the ball in the dark, leading to a bruise, cursing, and an awakened household.
Small things are not irrelevant. The challenge of a mosquito in a sleeping bag is proof of that. Nor is the mundane pointless.
I mock myself sometimes for my focus on the minutiae. Granted, I tend to obsess. But mostly I mock it because I thought those things were nice but mostly meaningless in the grander scheme.
But try taking care of the big decisions if you’re hiding a mouth with missing teeth, all because you couldn’t be bothered with the trivial task of toothbrushing. Try soliciting advice on something big if you stand there unwashed, unkempt, and a little bit smelly. It’s hard to get to the important interview if the engine seizes up because you couldn’t be bothered to check the oil.
Attend to the small details. They’re not insignificant because of their size. Cumulatively, they add up to a fair amount of important work.
If you let the easy, mundane, and pedantic tasks slide because of their perceived irrelevance, you too may find yourself ass over tea kettle in a dark hallway one unfortunate evening.
Do you find that attending to the small stuff is harder as we live through the COVID19 pandemic? Or, do you find the routine nature of small stuff comforting? Does it give you structure and a sense of accomplishment in a world that has slipped a little sideways?