Six Life Lessons I Learned from my Vacuum

I owned an iRobot (Roomba) a decade ago. I loved it. I would gush about it on social media. I loved how it said, "Oh, oh." when it got stuck and made a happy little sound when it finished. It cleaned my floors while I worked in my office and vacuumed under my couch. I adored my Roomba. But sadly, he only lasted a year. I bought a second one and loved Roomba II as much as Roomba I. But, Roomba II succumbed to the same demise in about a year. My Jetson days were over. It looked as though I was to forever be chained to a regular vacuum. I handed the chore to my husband. He wasn't impressed. 


This year I bought a shiny new iRobot. I figured ten years of technology must make a difference, and the price increase best mean technology indeed had changed. My new toy came with an App. I needed to give iRobot a name. Hmm. Bernard or Donovan. I chose Bernard. Somehow giving iRobot a female named seemed wrong. I liked the idea of a Bernard cleaning my home regularly. 

What surprised me about Bernard, wasn't how amazing he is at cleaning my floors. Bernard taught me in a short time some life lessons. Epic, Divalicious, life-changing examples on how to live my life. 


1. Consistency 

Every morning at 9 am, Bernard gives out a happy little beep and begins to clean my home. He zigzags in his odd pattern that somehow manages to cover the main floor of my house. He's thorough and works hard. The first time Bernard did his morning routine, the bin was full. A clear indication at the thoroughness (or lack of) of our previous vacuum. I was happy at the amount of dirt Bernard managed to suck up. He was powerful. The next day at 9 am, Bernard began again. Happily zipping through my home. This time when I emptied the bin, there was less dirt. Less animal hair. Hmm. By the time a week was passed, Bernard's job was much more manageable. The bin was never as full as that first time. 

Before, when I would come walking up the stairs from the basement into the main living area, I would see the sunlight glistening off the hardwood floors. It would highlight the dust and tufts of hair from Molly the beagle. It was a never-ending battle. I love Molly, and therefore, I put up with her hair on the floor. But the Martha Stewart in me pouted and wished I were better at cleaning my home. 

Now, after adding Bernard to my team, when I walk up the stairs, and the sun glistens off the hardwood. I see wood, no hair. The visual result of Bernard's consistency delights my inner Martha Stewart. 

Lesson learned: Being consistent brings results. 


2. Focus 

Bernard has a singular focus. Every morning he announces he's working. I drink coffee while he zigzags his little patterns throughout my home. Bernard bumps into entries, shoes, purses, walls. He travels over carpets and back onto the hardwood. Doors close. Doors open. And one thing remains the same – Bernard never gets sidetracked. No matter what happens, he keeps his focus and keeps vacuuming. 

I ponder how easily sidetracked I am. Facebook. Instagram. Emails. Unimportant busy work or fussing over a lost opportunity. Better yet, shiny object syndrome. Bernard never yells, "Squirrel!" He sticks to the job at hand. 

Lesson learned: If I want to make progress, I need to stay focused. 


3. Recharging 

After every cleaning session, Bernard heads back to his charging station. He climbs onto the charger, declares his triumphant achievement and shuts down. Then he takes the time required to recharge his battery.  Bernard isn't the energizer bunny. He needs to recharge. If he isn't restored, my little robot won't work. If he isn't renewed, he may not do his job thoroughly. Recharging is key to Bernard's success. 

How many times have I worked and worked and worked until there was nothing left of me? Or until I became ill? How many times have I felt guilty for taking time for myself? Does Bernard feel guilty when he rests on his charger? I doubt it. It's an integral part of the process and a key component to his success. It's ok to take a break. I can read a trashy novel or luxuriate in a bubble bath. I can call a friend and talk about the joys of owning an iRobot! 

Lesson Learned: Take time to recharge my batteries. Life isn’t all work. 


4. Self-Care 

Bernard is a machine. He's a robot, after all. And with that comes some maintenance. Nothing daunting. But it keeps Bernard running smooth and doing his job. Thus, it keeps my inner Martha Stewart happy. I empty the bin daily. Give the container a rinse a couple of times a week. Remove debris and hair from the wheels and his bits and bobs once a month. And change the filter once every couple of months. 

If I only allowed Bernard to recharge at the end of each session, he would get clogged up and stop working. Bernard requires consistent maintenance. So do I. Exercise. Diet. Vitamins. Hair Cuts. Massages. Manicures. Mammograms. Are new shoes considered regular maintenance? How about chocolate? 

Lesson learned: Take time for self-care. Schedule them in. Daily. Weekly. Monthly. Quarterly. 


5. Bernard knows when to ask for help 

Bernard isn't perfect. Sometimes he gets stuck under a piece of furniture. When he does, he lets me know. He gives out a yell from where he is and also notifies me on my smartphone. “Bernard is stuck and needs help!”, it says. If I'm home, I can rescue Bernard. If I'm not, I can shut him off until I can get there. Bernard knows I'm there for him if he needs me. 

Lesson learned: Don't be afraid to ask for help. Have key people you can count on. 


6. Ready to go. 

As long as Bernard's battery is charged, he is ready to go! I recently threw a party at my home. Bernard had done his usual 9 am cleaning. But, by 4 pm, there was more clean up required. I had been cooking all day. When I cook, I'm like Lucile Ball impersonating Julia Child. I make a mess. So, I pulled out my phone and pressed 'clean.' I heard the familiar announcement and Bernard was off and running. 

We never know when an opportunity is going to strike. We never know when someone will want our services. We must be ready to go. So that we can take advantage of any new opportunities or be there for someone who needs us. 

Lesson learned: Stay maintained, recharged and ready for the call. 


Final thoughts

There was a question in my planner as part of my yearly review. "Who are you most grateful for?" and I answered Bernard. I wasn't attempting to be funny. My little iRobot has taught me some great life lessons. He's showed me through his actions what consistency and discipline can do. Thank you, Bernard. 2020 is going to be a Divalicious year.