“I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
Walden: or, Life in the Woods – Henry David Thoreau
I don’t find any chore (routine task) challenging. I do find some boring, but I try and carry out these tasks artfully and while listening to a book or podcast or some music.
The most boring household job for me is routine cooking. Luckily, my husband likes cooking and his Turkish background means we often have Turkish vegetarian/vegan meals with colourful names like Imam Bayildi (The Priest has Fainted) which is made with aubergine (egg plant); Karni Yarik, (Split Belly), also made with aubergine; and Kadin Budu Kofte (Ladies’ Thighs), burgers.
The question brought to mind Thoreau’s Walden: or, Life in the Woods, about the two years he spent living in a cabin he built in woods near Walden Pond, Massachusetts.
I re-read Walden last summer. On contemplating why the book came to mind in respect of chores, I found it wasn’t about the mundane jobs Thoreau had to do to survive, but the mental and spiritual ones, and in particular his eschewment of companionship. For Walden, self-reliance was of greater value, not than companionship, but a constant need to seek it out, which is a kind of imprisonment.
Is it that any real challenge presented by chores, is that they are tasks not requiring much mental intervention, but that they are often carried out in solitude? Solitude is fearful to those of an extrovert nature. I’m not an extrovert, which may be why chores aren’t a challenge to me; rather, an opportunity for solitary contemplation and reflection.