Matching up socks, I’m fairly sure, is a task they make you do repeatedly in hell. I used to carefully match and pair different sizes and styles of socks, times four people. Pairing up socks became somewhat a side job for me. When all the other responsibilities of the day were squared away, I could always look forward to a nice basket of socks just waiting to play “match game.”
One day it hit me … all those cumulative hours of folding socks … for what? Who sees our sock drawers? Can we not manage to pair up socks on an as-needed basis? On a whim, and with no small sense of devil-may-care, I eliminated the task of sock matching.
Now I just lay them in the dresser drawer in one pile. It works just fine. No one died from it and I have surely saved hours of my life by now. I got to thinking that there were surely other customs that served no purpose. Habits I was taking on mindlessly. Tasks that someone else had successfully tossed aside like a pair of mismatched socks.
As a Tom Sawyer of journalism, I am always on the lookout for any research that will allow my friends to complete the bulk of my work. I decided to ask around. “Have you eliminated certain things that seem silly or pointless to you personally?” Always reliable, many of my friends and Internet followers chimed in.
According to personal methods, standards and tolerance we hereby decree that life’s too short:
To finish a novel that doesn’t grab you pretty early on.
To obsess over dirt no one can see. I went through a phase of scrubbing walls and baseboards WEEKLY. I have since given that up for a more general, manageable level of clean and my quality of life has not suffered one bit.
To not eat your own birthday cake. We all count calories as we age, but I’ll bet not a single person ever became obese from eating a slice of birthday cake.
To fold fitted sheets perfectly. I start out strong and then end up just sort of beating the billowing lump of sheet into submission and shoving all the evidence into a pillowcase on the linen cupboard shelf. It makes very little difference to our sleep comfort. We still have friends and am allowed to mingle in polite society.
To make a bed with military precision every single day. Isn’t this why they invented thick quilts? To hide those wrinkled sheets, surely.
To not spend time with your family friends. Drive to that birthday dinner (and eat the cake!). Call your grandmother or great uncle (today!) Send a “thinking of you” card, note, or e-mail. I bet few have ever said at a funeral “thank goodness I pruned the shrubs instead of spending that last weekend with him.”
To obsess about “fashion.” Enjoy it if you wish but don’t become consumed with seasonal trends and “must haves.” Be true to YOU, not what Paris designers decided look good this spring. They are prone to crazy hats and purple hair anyway.
To be over-scheduled. We’ve recently had a weekend with nothing planned. Nothing we “had” to do and nowhere we “had” to be. It was bliss.
To live a life without taking time for things that you love. We all have 24 hours to our day so stop complaining about not having enough time to do what you want. People who have crafts and hobbies don’t have “more time” than you, they simply prioritize theirs differently.
Living a stressed life due to things in your control. If it isn’t working or is creating more problems than pleasure get rid of it, work through it, find a plan B and rejoice in the fact that we are allowed do overs and you can make changes in your life to reflect what you desire in your life.
To be purposefully or thoughtlessly unkind. Hurting people hurt other people. If you are miserable and find yourself spreading your misery to others, get yourself help. There is no shame in asking for it. If you can, be kind.
Being kind is free but it does cost you something. It cost you thinking of others before yourself, swallowing your pride (sometimes) and pays dividends in feeling better about yourself from sowing kindness and blessings unto others.
Finally, life is too short to not forgive yourself for being imperfect. Sometimes you are going to obsess about the little things and miss the big things. It happens. We’re human. Life is definitely too short not to learn to let go of old grudges, forgive, move on and be free to live, love, and reinvent yourself every day.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt and her disorganized socks can be found online at www.KymberlyFosterSeabolt.com; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460 or LifeOutLoud@comcast.net.)