I’m over 40 but I’ve finally decided that I’m no longer going to wear underwear that is uncomfortable. I have a couple of pairs of underwear that are really cute. Every time I see them, I smile. They aren’t thongs–which I tried–but hey, I have a hard enough time flossing my teeth, why should I floss any other part of my body. Anyway, they are just really cute. But every time I wear them, I spend all day long walking with a slight little “hitch in my get along” as I try to adjust them. Last night, I decided it just wasn’t worth it and I threw them away.
It was a little sad–the frugal side of me chastised myself for throwing out a “perfectly good pair of underwear.” In the past, I would have pushed them to the back of my drawer, telling myself I was saving them for a day when the laundry didn’t get done and they were the only ones available. But the problem is, they never STAYED in the back of the drawer. Much like how they managed to crawl while I was wearing them, I would open up the drawer in a few days, and BAM, those cute little panties would be waiting for me. And like childbirth, I would forget how uncomfortable they were until I was walking into church doing my little skip-hop walk. My simplifying my life self was happy–get rid of something that doesn’t work! Yay! It really was liberating. And it got me thinking (much like how my friend N thought about me in the bathroom–it doesn’t make sense, but it is going somewhere).
How often do we tolerate things in our lives because, while they are uncomfortable, are still usable? We tolerate friendships that have run their course, commitments that no longer mean anything to us, obligations that we’ve outgrown but are too nervous to end. I have a terribly hard time getting rid of anything that is still usable…even if I regift it or donate it…there is something about giving something up just because it is inconvenient or no longer “comfortable.” I know some people who might want to dispose of me because I am not longer comfortable. You know what–do it! Unless you are my kids–they you are stuck with me. I’m your mother–I’m supposed to make you uncomfortable.
There is a saying that people come into our lives for a “reason, or a season, or a lifetime.” But not everyone or everything is a lifetime commitment. I have a very dear friend who I rarely see any more–we are going through different things in our lives and she was/is very much a “reason” friend. I hadn’t been writing for almost two decades and then she came into my life and got me on this writing path again. The fact that we don’t see or speak as much doesn’t bother me–she brought me through my reason and perhaps I brought her through one of hers. And I think that relationships can evolve–another girlfriend was for a season–a season before husbands and babies and mortgages. When I acquired all three while she was still dating, we drifted apart. But she has now caught up with me and we’ve drifted back together. I now think that she may well be one of my few lifetime friends.
But beyond friendship, I think that activities and commitments that we’ve outgrown are things we tend to hold onto beyond their usefulness. Is it that they appear to be comfortable and we know they are familiar? I have a sweater like that. It’s beautiful and looks so soft and comfortable and matches everything. Every time I see it, I want to wear it. But it was stitched together with plastic–or razor wire or something. It doesn’t start right away, but after wearing it for a few hours, there are uncomfortable, invisible threads that drive me up the wall. I attend meetings that are like this. I think I will enjoy the event because I’ve been doing it for so many years, but after a few minutes, that nagging invisible itch is telling me that I need to leave. But it is who I am, I have friends who I enjoy seeing at the event, and I am identified by the event. Who would I be if I didn’t do “my thing.” The problem is–I’ve outgrown the thing.
I’m making a commitment to start looking at EVERYTHING in my life that is uncomfortable and evaluating if they really need to be in my life. Some discomfort is good–even beneficial. When my jeans start getting tight and uncomfortable, I’m not going to just trash them and move to the Lane Bryant store. I’m going to look at them and decide I need to exercise a little more frequently–even if it is only pushing myself away from the dining room table. And while an uncomfortable situation may be telling me I’ve outgrown it, it may also be telling me that I need to go outside my comfort zone and respond positively to the situation. An uncomfortable friendship may have run its course–or I may need to grow as a person and mature as a friend.
The underwear however, have to go. The “stuff” that is really no longer necessary or useful need to be passed on to the next person. Except for the yarn. The yarn stays. Someday I will actually knit it all.
Let me just pause here to say, by no means am I comparing my friends to my underwear in a negative way. The underwear and friends that I am keeping are cute, comfortable, a perfect for me, and do their best to keep my @ss covered! 🙂