Lessons from A Laundry Disaster

Let’s begin with how much I’ve been stressing over this post:

My Thought Process on January 2nd (or 3rd), about 1am–

“I guess it’s time to write a New Year’s post, or I’m, uh, not-a-real-blogger. [Googles smallest owl in the world and ends up watching Youtube videos of people driving in Russia] Okay, okay. Let’s try this again. The first post of the New Year. I should probably write about resolutions or something really, really inspiring. [Looks through other people’s posts] Wow, you know what, never mind. I’ll just wait until February.”

I am not a huge fan of New Years’ Resolutions. I mean, it’s only mid-January and I am just now writing a post that admits they exist. After several tearful encounters with previous years’ over-confident, over-stuffed lists, most of which weren’t close to getting done, I decided to give up the practice. For the most part, though I admire those who make and keep them, I haven’t looked back. But there is something distressing about not taking advantage of the ceremony a New Year offers, so I modified things a bit a lot.

Frankly, doing more of something I enjoy and have already had some success at, is far less daunting than cutting cheese out of my diet, waking up at 5am or throwing away half a wardrobe I’ll only realize I like when I’m staring at seven, long grey shirts and have just gotten back from the Goodwill. #butminimalism #burnbabyburn

It also has a much higher likelihood of, oh I don’t know, actually happening.

This realization epiphany came to me the other day when my mother—her face a mask of regret—presented me with a wool sweater I had purchased earlier this year. It was delicate, speckled, a regular favorite and, on this day, somewhere between 2 and 7 sizes smaller than it had been. For all you moms out there, about a 4T. It looked like something from an American Girl Doll magazine. She had accidentally swept it up with her clothes, and washed it like a regular sweater.

There was a moment of silence. I looked. I laughed. My family noted the lack of negative reaction and it quickly became a funny memory.

The importance of this was lost on me, until the unthinkable happened. I went back to my own room, to deal with another pile of laundry—this time, one I had done. As I reached the bottom of the mountain, a funny feeling welled up in my chest. I began to wonder where my other, much loved wool sweater was. It wasn’t long before I had my answer. Also shrunk down to a mere memory of its former glory and a clear testament to my laundry skills, there it was. And—bang!—this was when I knew that I had moved forward in 2016.

Not long ago, I would have started with hiding my (extreme) irritation at the first sweater’s demise. In regards to my own mistake, I would have sworn to never screw something like this up again and might have vowed to high heaven, to never buy another shrinkable sweater. I would have berated myself, thoroughly and without mercy, brooding for an hour…or two. But on this fine day?

I looked. I laughed. And I let it go. I forgave myself. In, like, 2 seconds. #isthisreallife

As silly as it seems, this is how I know that—for all its weirdness—2016 wasn’t a wash, and great things can be taken from it. Something changed from 2015 to 2016 and, though it hadn’t even made a list, it allowed me to be happier, self-forgiving and a little freer. Amazed, I decided to made a different sort of New Years’ list, comprised of things I did in 2016. In 2017, I am simply going to do more of them. More…

  1. Letting go of errors.
  2. Saying, “I don’t know.”
  3. Sleeping.
  4. Drinking tea.
  5. Listening to audiobooks.
  6. Feeling things, even if I’d rather numb.
  7. Hugging.
  8. Being okay with not being “okay.”
  9. Learning, listening, praying.
  10. Saying, “This is me. This is where I am.”
  11. Exposing myself to the uncomfortable and the unfamiliar.
  12. Telling myself I am worthy (and believing it).
  13. Reminding myself of what matters when I feel small.
  14. Serving.

I can do these things. I have done them. I feel real passion when I see these words, however simple or ordinary they may seem. With His grace and a pinch of determination, I know I can do them again, and again, and again. And that knowledge makes me excited for this year. So, what is your Do More Of list? What made you feel alive, purposeful and excited in 2016? I think doing more of those things is a wonderful resolution. 🙂

Yours,

An Introvert at Large

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