Life Lessons from Bucket Bathing

life lessons from bucket bathing

I recently had a small, then a big, then a huge leak in my second-floor bathroom drain pipe. This resulted in not just mold and warped walls in my kitchen but also the inability to use my shower and bathtub for about two months. It took me that long to find the right contractor and get the job completed.

I usually shower every day, even though it dries out my greying hair and aging skin. Not having access to a regular flow of water was a bit of a gross out for me. In addition, it limited my activity a bit. I was reluctant to do anything which might result in perspiration, like excessive yard work or going to the gym, as it would have been difficult to get clean.

Without a shower, I had a few options. I could have joined a fitness club, one with a shower as my low frills club has none, especially since many of them offer a free introductory month. I also could have asked friends or family to use their shower. Another option would have been to stay in a hotel. And because I live very close to not one but two rivers, a final option would be to bathe riverside.

In the end, I decided to bathe the old fashioned way, though not quite as old-fashioned as river bathing – by using a small bucket, soap, and washcloths next to my bathtub.

My time spent bathing in this way was actually quite delightful. Everything was quiet and slowed down. Instead of hearing the rushing water by my ear, I heard the sound of birds singing nearby and the hum of children playing in the distance. I noticed things that would otherwise have escaped my attention during those moments.

Yet, I would not want to bucket bathe forever. This experience helped me to appreciate having an in-home shower so, so, so, so much.

In the city where I live, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 175 occupied homes that have incomplete plumbing facilities. That means that hundreds of my neighbors need to, on a regular basis, accommodate this structural deficiency by bucket bathing or whatever method they have devised. In addition, toward the end of my bucket bathing experience, Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas. How could I possibly complain about my lack of access to water when so many lives were lost and disrupted due to this deluge?

My short bucket bathing time helped me to put a lot in perspective. It made me realize how fortunate I am, due to geography alone, and how much I take for granted on a daily basis. I am grateful to have had this experience, but I am also relieved that it is now over!