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The Mundane

I remembered back when I was in my teens, I would go out for group outings with some of my Chinese school classmates. We would go to parks, go on road trips, and it was a fun time. I remembered when we would ride our bikes and go out for strolls together in nature. Just simply fun.


But at that time, our parents were the coordinators. They were the ones organizing everything behind the scenes. Planning the event. Bringing the equipment. Buying the food. Driving us to the parks. They were the ones orchestrating these wonderful events for the kids to simply enjoy.


I remember when I went to one of my Chinese school friend’s apartments in Elmhurst for a small get-together. And his parents cooked us a nice Italian lasagna meal. It was so delicious. I had to had seconds. At that time, I didn’t appreciate the effort that his mom and dad made to provide us with the awesome food.


They must’ve poured their heart and soul into making the dish for us. Putting it out on the table. Using the right number of spices for the right amount of taste. The little things add up, and it was a memorable experience.


Fast forward many years later and I am at that same friend’s wedding, and we were all seated together - my Chinese school friends and I. We enjoyed some delicious wedding banquet food. And it was a wonderful event all around. The venue had to be planned. The waiters had to provide us with the food. The service staff had to make sure that the event was properly designed and decorated. It was a total team effort from top to bottom.


I am blessed to have lived my life with so many people touching it. With so many people leaving a lasting impact on me whether directly or indirectly. With so many people that did the “dirty” work to help me enjoy my experience to the fullest.


My parents. My friends. The service staff. My NYC community. So many people had to plan and spend their energy organizing the mundane details of larger events. The ordinary behind the scenes work. The stuff that usually doesn’t get the over-the-top credit but must be done, nonetheless. There is so much work related to that. And I’ve been a beneficiary of it all.


Thank you again to my parents who have done so much of these mundane tasks for me to help me live a healthy and successful life. Growing up, all I really needed to do was study hard and get good grades in school. I didn’t need to worry about money. Food on the table. Buying groceries. Cleaning the house. Taking out the garbage. Washing the dishes. Doing the laundry. None of that.


All I needed to do was study hard. And that’s what I focused on doing, and that’s what I was good at. But as I grow up, I realize that these “simple and mundane” tasks are so important for us to get by and go thru everyday lives. Where would we be if we didn’t take out the garbage? If we just left the dishes piled up on the sink? If we didn’t exhibit self-care and not clip our toenails?


What would the world look like without any of these mundane chores? It would be utter chaos! Utter disorganization! Nothing left to enjoy or experience to the fullest. So, these mundane chores and details do have a purpose. They have their place in the grand scheme of things.


There is no grand wedding celebration without the cooks in the kitchen preparing the feast. There is no grand road trip across the USA without someone planning it out and renting the car and packing the suitcase. These mundane things do add up and should be appreciated day in and day out.


These days, I’m handling a greater portion of the “mundane” tasks on my own. From washing the dishes. To taking out the garbage. To buying the groceries. These tasks are ordinary and not something that will be highlighted on social media. But these chores are just as important as the surfing lesson you took in the Bahamas. Or the skydiving trip you took in Hawaii.


These chores are the backbone to keeping society intact and harmonized. There is no grand travel plan without the necessity of packing your clothing. There is no feast without conjuring up the ingredients of your food recipe. There is no grand celebration without the mundane minute tasks that need to be done.


And so, we can’t underestimate the importance of chores. Of cleaning the house. Doing the laundry. Paying the bills. Filing your taxes. Checking your mail. These chores need to be done. They are mundane. Some would say that they are “boring”. But they are a necessity in life and should be appreciated as well. And done with a purpose that is given to both “big” and “small” events.


Because things like picking up the garbage, or helping the old lady across the street, or sending out an urgent mail, will not be posted on Facebook. They will not be celebrated on your epitaph. They will not even be remembered in a day or an hour! But they do have meaning. Everything has meaning and value in their own little way.


So, the next time you are going out on a grand trip to the beach or to the amusement park, think about all the “tiny little” things that needed to happen in order to make your grand trip a reality. And appreciate just how interconnected we are in the grand scheme of things. Whether it be mundane or extraordinary, we should all appreciate the purpose of it all.

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