In the dream, I arrived at a decrepit office tower that appeared to have been designed and built in the 1960s by the Soviets. I was dressed in black slacks and a crisp, white button-down shirt with no necktie. I sat down at a drafting table ready to work. A coworker said, “You didn’t get the memo. We are not supposed to wear white shirts.” A supervisor approached my table and ordered me to rearrange some discarded furniture at the other half of the office. I struggled to push a worn-out swivel chair while worrying about getting the pure white shirt cuffs dirty. I began laughing at the absurdity of the scenario. That’s when I awakened.
Evidently, my subconscious remembered that I would be writing a few paragraphs about Inconvenience Yourself Day today. Perhaps I also remembered that every job I’ve ever taken has had at least a few unexpected inconveniences. That we are asked to take on some responsibilities outside of the official job description goes without saying.
Many folks celebrate Inconvenience Yourself Day by doing tasks the hard way. They decide to park far away from their destination so they have to walk further. Some forgo using the dishwasher by doing the dishes by hand. Maybe someone is pushing broken office chairs for no reason, like I did in the dream.
The focus of the commemoration is probably deeper than just making one’s life a hassle for a day. The idea is to go out of our way to help others. An easy example is to practice greater courtesy on the road. Allow other drivers to go ahead of you instead of imagining you’re in a stock car race. Another way of “inconveniencing” oneself is to perform a random act of kindness for a stranger. This is self-explanatory and is not very difficult to do. In a similar vein, we can make a little more effort to be present emotionally for someone else. If a friend or cohort needs to talk, we can give them our full attention without giving unsolicited advice.
On the inconvenience scale from selfless to self-indulgent to avoid doing “me things” is quite selfless. We can put aside the desire to sleep a little longer or playing computer games. We can “inconvenience” ourselves by agreeing to help a friend with an onerous task or fulfilling an unpleasant obligation. How does doing the inconvenient thing make you feel? Are you unhappy or happy afterwards?
If you decide to purposely inconvenience yourself today, may your lesson be valuable in the end.
The Blue Jay of Happiness ponders a line from the first Shōgun in Japan of the 1600s, Tokugawa Ieyasu. “Persuade thyself that imperfection and inconvenience are the natural lot of mortals, and there will be no room for discontent, neither for despair.”
I did not know this was a thing!
We have a peculiar culture, for sure.
It’s a novel concept. I can’t find much information on this topic (nothing on Wikipedia), which makes me feel a little bit cooler just for reading about it. Thank you!
I have a radio broadcaster’s calendar I reference. (I used to be a media worker.)