It’s Easter, so I, along with half the nation, am indulging in a spot of home decoration. I’m painting the bathroom, (after removing the swollen MDF bath panel and manky floor tiles), and my son’s bedroom, (after peeling off the blue tac zits).
When I said indulging, I meant it. I love this job. I like choosing colours, (a pale blue called Gauze in the bathroom, and quite a bright green in the boy’s room – he’s gone to Australia so I didn’t feel the need to consult); I like the feeling of having to get the place clean; I like the act of running a roller across a wall while listening to Desert Island Discs. In this case, since I’m doing the two rooms at the same time, including ceilings, and woodwork, I have even enjoyed planning the time table. I don’t particularly like the prep, and squeezing the furniture into other parts of the house is always a drag. Plus I’m always amazed how the rest of the house becomes instantly uncared for and messy. But on the whole this is a job I look forward to.
And yet, what I do for the entire programme, is try to beat my time table. I am, right now, thinking has the woodwork had long enough to dry, could I get one more coat done before bed, that way I could get straight onto the walls tomorrow, two coats if I start early enough, I might even finish a day early. If I managed the bathroom ceiling tonight, I might save even more time. I rush, I put pressure on myself, I don’t take breaks. I stop it being enjoyable. I forget to take my time and consequently a bit more trouble. I cut corners and can’t wait to clear it all up. Putting the dust sheets back in the box, taking the debris to the tip, hoovering up at the end. It’s another part of the job I enjoy.
I could make some tying up comment here about the importance of the journey as well as the destination. There are probably some quotes I could find that would back that up. But I don’t think that’s the point for me. It’s enough to simply notice that’s what I do. I might, if I felt like it, ask myself what causes this headlong race to the finish line, or I might just notice. Mindfulness, it’s fashionable, and it’s also the whole point. Noticing, we can enquire and be curious, or leave it at noticing. In this case I’m sticking at noticing. I’ve got no doubt at all I’ll be up there after supper, fitting in one more coat on the skirting board, just so I can get this enjoyable job done that little bit quicker.