The importance of doing things

Like many (most) people, I look forward to my weekends. I don’t often have social plans, preferring to enjoy the solitude of home after a week of talking to people at work. 

There’s a downside to this though: not having plans can turn into lying on the couch watching reality tv. Especially when I’m feeling less than average. 

This weekend, however, was a good mix of time alone and time with people. On Saturday morning I did a blitz on the kitchen, cleaning the bench, sink, cooktop and microwave thoroughly and even getting half of the fridge cleaned properly (as in, emptied out and washed with hot soapy water, as distinct from the once-over-lightly wipe with a sponge and a spray of something). I managed to work up quite the sweat doing this. Makes me think our (great-) grandmothers were probably very fit and strong from the housework and cooking. If you don’t believe me, try making a cake and creaming the butter and sugar until fluffy by hand. 

Doing housework can be satisfying because it’s physical work and you can see the results of your efforts. I believe more and more that something that we’ve lost with our automated and outsourced lives is the satisfaction of practising physical skills. 

In the afternoon I took my ladder to a friend’s house to help her hang a blind from a height. Not the kind of job one should tackle alone because falling would be serious. Again, there’s great satisfaction in completing a job like that, seeing the blind that she’d made (double satisfaction for her) hang straight and to the perfect length, hearing the bite of the screws as they secured the batten. 

This morning, friends came over for coffee and I made muffins. I thought about going out to the bakery to buy something, but decided to bake instead because it felt like I was making an effort for them. I like baking, and there’s nothing so welcoming as the smell of fresh baking when you walk into someone’s house. 

So I end my weekend feeling surprisingly content, because I have done things. Not big, brag-worthy things, but practical, constructive things. Things that required a bit of skill and know-how, and that yielded results. It feels good.