Friday, November 13, 2009

Slash and Burn

I remember learning years ago in elementary school about this agricultural technique. Over the years it's evolved into a methodology I use for many things.

At times in my life I have too much stuff. I start packing things and storing them, or better yet giving them away. It's important to remove things that are not contributing to my enjoyment of life. It takes a certain mind set to accomplish this...a distancing from whatever I'm trying to remove. I have to objectively look at the category of items and decide if I'm ever going to use them, seriously, again. Some things I can't let go of and I accept that. Others, it really isn't hard to boot out the door.

A long time ago I learned that life is short enough that what surrounds you should be contributing to your happiness. Those additions to your life should make you smile, not cringe. When you start making excuses not to be around something that was once precious, it's really okay to remove it from your world.

In the discipline of knitting, this happens when we finally decide, without regret or guilt that we are never going to finish that sweater and we either frog it to pieces or give it to someone else to do as they wish. It's really very liberating and suddenly the yarn we hated to catch sight of becomes a new inspiration for our knitting.

Some things we commit to for the long haul. Marriages (at least that's the hope), children, pets. These things all cause us stress, but we've committed to that amount of stress in our lives. Hopefully we walked in with our eyes open and agreed to all of the potential good and not so good things that are part of those relationships. Sometimes it doesn't work, but we try and try harder with these areas of our lives because we've made a very public commitment.

Friends, acquaintances, co-workers...that's another whole story. Of course we enter those relationships with the highest of hopes and commitments, really wanting them to work. When they don't though, when one finds oneself making excuses not to go to work, avoiding social locations because one doesn't want to chance running into a particular someone, or worse, start looking for a new job because the person in the next cubical just makes your ulcer bleed, it truly is time to move on. Some things just can't be fixed.

What pushes us to those points is so very different from person to person, relationship to relationship. I recently went out on a blind date and it was made very clear to the gentleman that I didn't want cigarette smoke around me. The first thing he did when getting into the vehicle was light up. I understand he was nervous, but hey, he knew smoking around me was a deal breaker. There was no future. He, apparently was willing to risk that, and the risk didn't pay off.

Life is just too short to not have the things, places and people around you that make you happy. Some we aren't given a choice on, but on all those extras in our lives we can choose to be around or not be around, make good choices. If it makes your stomach tighten up, get away from it. If you don't come away from the encounter with a lighter step and a song in your heart, don't go back.Knitters often say, "Life is too short to knit with yukky yarn." It's true. No matter what your own individual definition of yukky yarn is.


  1. Oh, I so agree. However, I have reached the point where there just never seems to be enough time or energy to get rid of what I don't want and still enjoy some of the things that I do. Perhaps retirement in the not too distant future will allow me to follow this philosophy.

  2. What marvelous insight, Lizzie. As regards Joansie's comment of retirement allowing her to follow your philosophy, I can only say retirement has made it worse for me. Renate


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