We live on 4.5 acres of semi-rural land on Mitchells Island. Some of our property is tamed and most is not. Not that we haven’t been working on it on and off for the last nine years. It’s a big job trying to do bush regeneration.
Today, as I was cutting and poisoning lantana and blackberry bush, I was thinking how much more work there was to do compared with my current feeble efforts. I took that notion further and thought to myself, ‘This is such a thankless task!”
As I hacked and cut and ’round-upped’, I became interested in that expression – ‘a thankless job’. Those words are more than just an expression; they describe an attitude, and a bad one at that. Thankless might point to a feeling of being unacknowledged or unappreciated in what you are trying to accomplish. You might even feel that you’re doing a job that no one else wants to do or it’s too difficult for one person.
You could probably list a hundred thankless duties that come up regularly in your life. Here’s a few to jog your thinking:
Washing up the dishes
Making school lunches
Washing the car
Making the bed
Brushing your teeth
Cleaning the gutters
Maybe – or horrors! – you think of your yoga practice like this at times (I hope not). Or, going to the gym or jogging.
I had an insight out of ruminating on my sorry lot, tackling all these weeds: I can thank myself.
I can acknowledge and appreciate myself for doing the best job I could have done today. Yeah, there’s more work to be done, and I get tired sooner than I want to, but it’s up to me to change my approach to what I’m doing. It’s an exercise in empowerment for me to recognise my accomplishments. Whereas thinking of a task as ‘thankless’ leaves a hollow feeling, being satisfied with what I do takes me to a whole other way of being.
It’s my choice.
I think you’ve nailed it with the closing: It’s a choice. But I know for me I’ve long forgotten that. I’ve brushed my teeth for all my life and I can’t remember pausing and being grateful that I did. But I do appreciate having all of my teeth and a healthy mouth. The actual feeling of accomplishment in the moment though has long died away in the routine.
I’ve been pondering how I use the word thankless. it seems to be when I feel nobody will notice.they’d notice soon enough if I stopped doing dishes but Lantana? even God would probably not notice. Having said that I thank you hugely for anything you do down there!