A few weeks ago, my Toastmaster colleague asked us a question: If we were to make a movie, what would it be? And he got tons of responses about movies on resilience, about life struggles, about romance and relationships, about sports and winning. A lot of different topics that resonated and were reasonable.
But, in the back of mind, I thought to myself why not make a movie out of mundane tasks, like washing the dishes, or taking out the garbage, or buying groceries? After all, most of these mundane or arguably boring things or kind of overlooked in media these days. We usually post and talk about the dramatic life events that are happening. The deep philosophical thoughts that are on my mind. Things that drive and provide us with life-changing purpose. And all that is great.
However, most of life is not like that. Most of life consists of mundane tasks such as brushing your teeth, going to the bathroom, washing the dishes, taking out the trash, buying groceries, vacuuming the floor, going to sleep before 10 PM and ideally getting at least 8 hours of sleep before you wake up the next morning, taking the subway to work, and on and on it goes.
Most of these everyday tasks are not glamorized at all. They’re not pushed onto a pedestal and lionized for all of us to see. However, these tasks are just as important to our well-being as fighting for some world-impactful cause like climate change, gun control, social equality, or abortion rights. I feel like most people don’t have the privilege to be fighting for those huge eventful causes. Because they are too busy with worrying about when their next paycheck will come or will they have enough food to feed their kids or keep the electricity on.
So, I feel like life drama is relative. Most of the things we see on news outlets or social media these days consists of genuine drama. You could see murders and beatings. You could see thievery and outrage. You can see people going out to eat at fancy restaurants. You see people vacationing in exotic beaches or lifting heavy weights at the gym to get that well-deserved six-pack.
According to them, this is the definition of an impactful life. A life worth living. Something that provides your ego with drama or outrage or some sort of fulfillment. And that is okay too. There is nothing wrong with that.
I just feel like we need to spend more time “glamorizing” or at least giving some props to those everyday mundane chores that are overlooked in life. Brushing your teeth. Making your bed. Buying groceries. Budgeting your funds. Paying off your credit card on time. These supposedly boring things mean a lot in life and can have compounding effects to your health and well-being. They should not be overlooked and often times in popular media they are.
At the same time, I understand that the media needs to sell things that are “interesting” and “exciting” and mundane chores simply don’t generate as many views online or as many subscribers. So, it is understandable that they only choose the outliers to publish and film. They choose the people with stories so memorable and out there to push because that is what sells to consumers.
I, myself, am vulnerable to this type of marketing too. I have to admit that watching an inspirational sports film about an underdog triumphing over all unimaginable odds definitely resonates more with me on a visceral level than a film simply depicting a single guy washing the dishes, cooking his own food, cleaning his own toilet, vacuuming the floor, and going out with friends for the occasional coffee or beer.
I understand that it is human nature to publish things that are considered extraordinary. Things that will sell. Things that will punch you in the proverbial face with life-changing impact. Honestly, I think a lot of it comes down to ego as well. The ego to look good, to find fulfillment, to find some sort of permanent purpose or focus in life. So that you will be set forever. You will leave a legacy. You will make a difference that is noticeable and recognizable.
But, perhaps, even small changes and small chores can leave a lasting impact. Brushing your teeth everyday prolongs your health. Promoting good skin care can similarly have good benefits to your confidence and well-being. Buying groceries allows you to put food on the table for your loved ones. Planning for retirement allows you a better chance to live more comfortably as you advance in age.
These supposedly little mundane things that are not glamorized are equally, if not more important than that one-time life-changing seminar from that professional guru that you saw on YouTube last year. So, embrace the drama of it all. Embrace the perceived little and big things in life and let it all move you.
Every single little or big moment in life has some meaning. Has some purpose. It’s up to us to distill it and learn from it and make it into our own life-changing drama story.