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Stop Dusting Your Pipes

I know that sentence above doesn’t make any sense. Allow me to explain…

A few years ago I met a woman who regularly dusted her pipes. That’s not a metaphor, every few weeks she would go into the room with her water heater and the piping and duct work in her house and clean off every surface in there. She even had a little stepladder that she kept in there all the time for just that purpose.

I have lived in several apartments and houses over my lifetime and I can honestly say that not once, even for a millisecond, has it ever occurred to me to dust my pipes. Even after she showed me what she does did it occur to me to pick up that habit after I got home. And considering that every other person whom I have told about this particular practice has responded, “She does WHAT?!” I’m guessing that it hasn’t occurred to most other people as well.

It became very apparent, after additional things that she told me and showed me in her home that this person suffers from severe OCD, so much so that she was divorced and lost custody of her kids as a result. But this post isn’t about all of that. It’s about the rest of us, who may not physically dust our pipes, but instead spend countless hours doing meaningless things and/or being slaves to our unhealthy impulses.

What do I mean by this? Well, if we can agree that taking significant time out of our lives to dust areas of our house that don’t need it and that no one will ever see, then we can call that task a waste of time that could be used more productively or joyfully. So what is our version of dusting our pipes? Is it watching video after video on YouTube instead of creating something artistic ourselves? Is it endlessly scrolling Facebook or Instagram, looking at other people having a good time while we’re sitting home alone at the computer? Is it doing that scrolling all the while feeling jealous of those other people’s life highlight reels and putting our own lives and accomplishments down because they are not as good as those other people’s? Is it constantly worrying about every single thing we put into our mouths because of the calorie or carb or fat content? Is it constantly thinking about the past and how we were wronged or what this person or that person said to us that hurt our feelings? Is it the continual playing of the tape in our head that tells us we’re not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, capable enough, thin enough, talented enough, insert-whatever-deprecating-word here enough to really go after our dreams and try to pursue them?

There are so many ways that we regularly “dust our pipes,” and none of them are worthy of our time and effort. They are all time wasting, joy sucking, and nonsensical things to do with our time. As bizarre as it is to think of someone climbing up on a ladder every few weeks to dust her pipes, it’s likewise as crazy to spend precious moments of our days focusing on things that don’t matter even a little bit. Has anyone on their deathbed ever said, “I wish I had spent more time dusting?”

So stop doing whatever it is that equates to the inanity of dusting your pipes. Choose instead to spend your time doing activities that make you happy and fill up your spirit. The pipes will always be there, but they do not, I repeat, DO NOT require your attention. Only the marvelousness that is you, does.

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