LEGO. Those bright little blocks meant to foster creativity in our kids.
Sure they seem innocuous enough: tiny, colourful, plastic pieces of fun, which end up getting in your way, under your feet and before you know it they multiply in plague proportions scattering themselves wontonly about the house.
It has certainly made me wonder lately that life, like our house, is often littered with LEGO pieces. Tiny but cumulative incidents that can bother us to bits.
Blocking up vacuum cleaners, taking over kitchen tables, hiding in shoes, ready to strike at any moment, insistent on hassling you and making you always work to clear them away.
Their presence might seem small, but in greater numbers…. A proverbial pain in the butt (or foot in my case).
These LEGO pieces have the ability to constantly fill up all areas of our house and no matter how many times I pick them up, they’re quite happy to reappear at any given moment and strategically place themselves in my path.
Luke warm solutions
I’ve tried ignoring them, stepping over or around in the hope that someone else might just clear them up…… “KIDS!!!”
I’ve attempted to teach my boys (and husband) the finner art of returning them to their rightful place once finished, in vain.
I’ve meticulously searched the house, NCIS style gathering all potential pieces likely to murder my vacuum cleaner, thinking ‘I’ve got you all, you little suckers!’ only to be falsely rewarded with a bad back the next day and a pile of pieces under foot!
I’ve even been known to stash them away on higher shelves, unwitnessed and out of the rampant hands of my curious boys.
But No. There’s just no getting rid of them.
Life in small blocks
Just as at home, in life these ‘LEGO pieces’ can be annoying, persistent and steadily overwhelming.
Tiny incidents or small dilemmas can quite quickly and easily fill our days, weeks, lives with bothersome burden.
It might be the minor disagreement you had with your partner in the morning. The crazy driver who gave you the finger when you took the roundabout a little too cautiously.
Then that unfinished task you had to leave at work in order to collect kids from school. The broken front door that you still haven’t fixed.
The essential shopping ingredients you forgot to get on the way home and finally that book you still have not finished reading, despite your best efforts.
These incidents scatter themselves about our day and have a tendency, not unlike LEGO, to pile themselves one on top of the other.
They play on our mind and annoyingly niggle away at our emotional state.
These somewhat minor troubles in the course of our day seem harmless enough on their own but in growing numbers, left to accumulate, can pester us to the point of ‘flipping out!’.
But accepting that they are there and working out what to do with them, isn’t easy.
Nietzsche on LEGO
Famous German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche offers us some insight here (despite living a good 50 years before LEGO) when he suggested that….
“A great souled person rises above their circumstance and difficulties to embrace whatever life throws at them”. The School of Life
He also gave us the rather melancholy expression “To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering” and “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”
Soooooo easier said than done! But he’s probably on to something.
Facing up to things, even those that may initially seem small and insignificant means we are not letting them control us or burdened us with their presence.
We can choose to address them, pick them up then and there and put them away with a swift ‘Ah, life’s too short to let that bother me’ shrug. Because that’s really the truth, right?
And denying that the culmination of these burdens exists, does nothing to help us cope with them in our life.
So in a sentiment close to Nietzsche’s philosophy, we could simply say to ourselves, ‘deal with it’ or my personal favourite, ‘build a bridge and get over it’.
The fact is; whether we pick up those pieces of LEGO, feign disinterest and step over them or leave them to slowly but surely hound us, they’re going to be there time and time again.
These things never disintegrate (Damn you Ole Kirk Christiansen).
And yet the LEGO pieces that are a part of life, with all their colour and potential, contribute to a rich part of our existence.
“Play well” is the danish translation for LEGO (leg godt) and that seems a fitting way to view life and the LEGO pieces that can clutter it.