I was raised a simple life when I was a kid. Go to school, study hard, get good grades and the rest will pan out. And pan out it did. When I was in elementary school I’d get triple A pluses on book reports. I remembered a report on the province of Saskatchewan that I meticulously prepared with my good friend.
I remembered spending some of the weekend in weekend school in Flushing, trying to brush up on my English or mathematics in order to prepare for the incoming SATs. It was a simpler time, when all I had to do was study hard and do well on tests.
Education was of primary importance in my family and I have to admit that I excelled in the game of education. Eventually culminating in acing my SATs and getting into the well-reputable Cornell University! My goodness, I have made it in life!
This mentality stuck with me in Cornell. And I focused on getting good grades. But the funny thing is no matter how hard I tried in the Engineering School, I was always middling at best - never at the top of the class. I guess I was just not cut out to be a full-blown engineer.
It was hard stuff. Everything academically about Cornell was a challenge. And I realized that I shouldn’t revolve my life around simply being good at academics. There’s got to be more to life than just doing well and studying hard in school.
Similarly, when I graduated Cornell, my education mentality made me focus on getting a good job and working hard at work. After all, it’s called work for a reason. There was the utmost focus on my career and my profession. That all the other mundane things kind of just got swept to the side.
During my young days, it was work hard, study hard. During my days after college, it was similarly do your job well. And everything else would take care of itself.
But, now as my years progress and I go into my late 30’s. I realize that there is a lot to life that I took for granted. This process called adulting was never too familiar with me. I always lived at home - except for a 3 year span when I studied and worked overseas - so my parents did most of the mundane tasks for me.
Stuff like doing the laundry, washing the dishes, cleaning the floor, taking out the garbage. Mundane but necessary tasks that are needed in order sustain yourself in this game called life. In this society we live in.
These mundane chores are so important, yet I took them for granted for most of my life. Someone had to shop for groceries in my family. Someone had to wash the dishes.
Someone had to sweep the floor and clean the house. Someone had to cook the meals everyday. These everyday errands and chores can take up a large chunk of our lives.
And for the most part, my parents were responsible for the large majority of them. It was a boon for me, that all I needed to focus on was education and career. School and work. That’s all. But, being an adult is more than simply having a good profession and making a lot of money. It’s more than getting good grades and getting into a college.
Those things are important - don’t get me wrong - but they are not the end all be all of everything. These days, I cherish the mundane tasks that need to be done on a daily basis. Cleaning the toilet. Cooking. Shopping for groceries. Taking out the garbage. Because I realize that these mundane tasks are just as important as getting into Cornell University.
I’ve just been privileged to not have to worry about most of these stuff for the majority of my life. That I had the luxury and the resources to simply focus on my work and my school. That was all I had to worry about. It made everything simpler and more efficient for me throughout these years.
But, nowadays, I try to immerse myself a little bit more in the mundane tasks of this world. Because I know that those tasks are very much needed in order to become a full-fledged adult in this world. These things are needed in order to truly get your life together. To become a full-grown man. And I respect and admire that so many people in this world are struggling to make ends meet on their own.
It’s truly admirable and not an easy thing to attain. Especially these days when many people have to manage all by themselves the work and personal life. It’s not easy. Adulting isn’t easy. These mundane tasks are not simply mundane. They are necessary for us to grow and develop as human beings.
Now, I look at doing these tasks as a means to grow. As a means to become more understanding and more a part of society. To see how it feels to become an adult in this world. Because the mundane is often times the part that fuels us into the person that we become.