Earlier today I bumped into somebody I hadn’t seen for a very long time. I might have exchanged a word or two with her a couple of years ago, but I haven’t sat down in a room with her in over a decade. So I asked how she is, of course, and what she’s been up to.

She replied with a shrug, ‘Housework.’

Fortunately, my dynamic three year old was pulling me away to see some alpacas by that point, so I didn’t have a chance to react or reply. ‘Looks like I’ve got to go!’ I laughed instead. If I’d had to reply, I might have accidentally offended.

Housework. Really? Twelve years or more, and all you can tell me – certainly the first thing to come to your mind – is that you’ve done housework? I hope your house is fucking sparkling!

Now, I don’t mean to say anything against the lady herself. She is a nice person, and she raised a good friend of mine.

But I simply cannot understand that sort of stagnation. I don’t understand how somebody would not even want or try to do something, to change something, to grow or learn or something. I am surrounded – I have surrounded myself – with the sorts of people who are always doing things and trying things. To me, the urge to be an active participant in life is a natural, normal thing. The weird, unnatural thing is to let life pass you by, ticking along, waiting to die. I can’t comprehend how that sort of existence could hold any lasting satisfaction. But most of all, I’m afraid I find that sort of person… well, I won’t beat around the bush: boring.

Look at yourself and your friends. Consider what you’ve all done in the last ten years. I’m pretty confident in all of my readers: you should be able to come up with at least one or two pretty big milestones or achievements, plus a multitude of smaller changes and efforts. If you were asked what you’d done in the last decade, what would be the first thing to come to your mind?

Please tell me it’s more interesting than housework!


11 thoughts on “Stagnation

  1. Kez says:

    Sometimes when people ask me, “what have you been up to lately?” (as in the last few weeks) all I can think of is “child rearing”. Which is a pretty boring answer and I feel stupid about it. But then I remember everyone else says “working” and no-one has a problem with that!
    However, if you asked me what I’ve been up to in the last few YEARS, I would definitely be able to say some interesting things! I hope my life keeps changing and evolving!
    The last decade? Wow, where do I start haha. I met my husband, we’ve lived in three places. We left our hometown for five years and then came back to “settle down” – best decision ever. I’ve completed half a teaching degree, decided it wasn’t for me, graduated in Behavioural Science and Counselling at uni, got a job in Community Development right out of uni which was a big source of pride for me. My husband’s brother was dying of melanoma at the same time my husband had a broken leg in 2010 and I had to give up my job to care for him and spend time with family. After the grieving calmed a lot, we finally tried for a child, had said child and now he’s almost a year old and making me smile every day! This year marks my fifth year of marriage and I am enjoying blogging and making new friends all the time 🙂
    God, that just made me REALLY realise how boring doing housework would be for 10 years plus!!!

  2. Eh, I feel a bit sorry for her. I don’t understand why people fall into a rut like that, although, thinking about it, it’s probably easy to do. For instance, you perhaps take a break from your working life to accomplish a goal such as having a child, and then, you’re in rut, and it’s a pretty comfortable rut, and so you stay in it, perhaps. I don’t know; as women (for the most part) we’re expected to do certain things and fulfil certain roles. I don’t agree with it; I think we’re amazing and we can play MANY parts including the traditional role, but some women do get stuck in the one role. From your post it sounds like she did a good job as a mother and raised one or more children well. Perhaps she was just having a day when housework was at the top of her head and that’s the first thing she went with. I’m sure she herself has done a lot more than housework; I wish she’d credit herself with it.

    • stace8383 says:

      Well, you may be right… but even though I’ve written this post with reference to one person, I am really describing what seems to be a common thing, at least in Australia, and I was thinking of a couple of other specific people too. 😦

      • Oh, it’s all too common all over the world, Stace. It’s very sad, but there it is. My friend Arabella (the one who had the baby recently) stopped working when she was about eight months pregnant and decided she didn’t want to go back to work. But she is very crafty and she set up her own Etsy shop and blog. I think people need the confidence to believe in themselves and work from home or gain the skills they need to work from home. It’s entirely possible – a lot of women (and men) do it. I’m just a lot of women don’t realise that and don’t go for it.

      • I managed to skip a couple of words in my last sentence; it should say: I’m just sad that a lot of women don’t realise that and don’t go for it.

  3. aNonyMous says:

    I totally know what you’re saying. That’s just what my mother is like. It’s like she’s given up on life and is just waiting to die. She’s had the same job for about 15 years, lived in the same village her whole life, and the highlight of her year is going on holiday for 5 days every summer to the exact same resort. I can’t understand!

    For myself, I would say: left my career because I no longer enjoyed it, had a baby, decided to unschool, moved house 5 times and cities twice. And it’s only the beginning.

  4. Andrew says:

    What is a big milestone? I’ve seen a big milestone on the VIC/NSW border. I might have done nothing ‘big’, but have plenty of little things.
    What have I done in ten years? I’ve bought a car and travelled over 135,000km in Victoria, NSW and Tassie in it. I’ve seen beautiful trees and polluted rivers. I’ve seen amazing fauna and talked to a diverse range of people. I’ve seen the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended, and at night, the wond’rous glory of the everlasting stars. I’ve seen the Easter moon shining behind tall eucalyptus trees like wildfire. I’ve discussed philosophy whilst driving to Adelaide.
    I’ve literately read hundreds of books, which some of them figuratively blew my socks off. I’ve acted in Under Milk Wood, The Leader, The Real Inspector Hound, The Mousetrap, and others. I’ve come off stage proud to have created something better than the sum of its parts. I’ve seen theatre, musicals, operas, orchestras, concert bands and buskers. I’ve learnt to enjoy and understand Shakespeare. I’ve thought.
    I’ve realised I’m nowhere near as smart as I thought. I’ve helped others and been helped. I’ve laughed so hard, I couldn’t stop. I’ve been so sad where I have had no tears to shed. I’ve seen attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. Hopefully I’ve learnt to be a better person.

  5. elskenewman says:

    Ha ha, that made me laugh. Housework? I thought I lacked a social life 🙂

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