Dust If You Must
by Rose Milligan
Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better
To paint a picture, or write a letter,
Bake a cake, or plant a seed;
Ponder the difference between want and need?
Dust if you must, but there’s not much time,
With rivers to swim, and mountains to climb;
Music to hear, and books to read;
Friends to cherish, and life to lead.
Dust if you must, but the world’s out there
With the sun in your eyes, and the wind in your hair;
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain,
This day will not come around again.
Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
Old age will come and it’s not kind.
And when you go (and go you must)
You, yourself, will make more dust.
I stumbled upon this poem on social media recently and it really struck a chord within me. A while ago I realised that I just don’t cope well if things haven’t been done, when things are untidy and unclean. Lately I’ve struggled more than ever to stay on top of everything. The tidying up, the sorting and organising, the cleaning, the laundry, the shopping, the cooking and the other random things that I have on my to-do list outside of the house. These mundane tasks seem to keep building up and the more untidy and unclean things are, the more anxious I start to become and the less I am able to deal with tackling the “problem” one thing at a time. And so I let myself get worked up into a horrible state of stress and anxiety. It’s happening more frequently now with Violet and her still very unpredictable sleep schedule and preference for catnapping.
So when I read this poem I felt like it was written as a letter to me. As a reminder that I’m allowing life to pass by without taking the time to enjoy it the way that I should. That I’m spending too much time focusing the things that don’t really matter, and not enough time on enjoying the things that do. And in my heart I know that this is having quite a negative impact on the state of my mental and emotional health.
Now I don’t know how to implement an immediate change, how to let go of things that aren’t really important, but feel important to me. But I do know that I need to try. This is going to be a work in progress. But I think I’m going to start with a simple cleaning schedule and a little bit of daily (or perhaps twice daily) guided meditation with the Headspace app (you can check it out here).