English: Two dandelions side-by-side in some g...

Maintenance. I despise the concept in so many ways. Grass needs cutting, taps need washers, cars need services, teeth need fixing, apps need updating, bodies need the occasional wash, friends need to be phoned, walls need to be repainted, roads need to be resurfaced. I wish I could just do something once and have it last*.

It seems that as I get older, there are just more and more things that need to be maintained. As my body, my home, my friends and my possessions get older and creakier, they demand more and more looking after. I find myself investing ever greater amounts of effort in fighting the inevitable effects of time, the elements, gravity, frail memories and planned redundancy.

I could just continuously buy new replacements, but even this is a form of maintenance, because I would still be wasting time on something that I’ve already done. It’s just something I have to get used to: everything needs to be maintained. And so I accept (reluctantly) that I have to keep everything around me from breaking, eroding, spoiling, decaying, drooping and shutting down. 

Yet I have no problem when it comes to maintaining my interest in the world. I am constantly learning new things and I love thinking deeply about what’s going on around me and inside me. These are things I am happy to invest massive chunks of time on. If my mind were a thing, I would want it to be the shiniest, best oiled, leanest and freshest smelling thing I could make it. I also love streamlining and upgrading my professional skills, and I feel that I get better, crisper and more efficient every year.

For me, maintaining things is a cumbersome, joyless drudgery, but maintaining my mind is an uplifting journey.

And so I am struck by a question: Why does it seem that so many people around me prefer things the other way around? 

Green, Green Grass
Green, Green Grass (Photo credit: Garry – http://www.visionandimagination.com)

 *Of course, I know that the greater part of the economy relies on the exchange of maintenance related goods and services, and the laws of the universe and nature dictate that decay is inevitable, but I want out, dammit!)

Don’t forget to look me up on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/SeanHCole



  1. Gosh I thought that was me writing this. A couple of years ago Dave and I lived in a tent with a “trailer office” for a few months. The freedom of needing so few material possessions was magical. We were healthier and happier than ever. Now we are back on the treadmill and I long for those days again.


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