A story from Simple Truths of Life.
I've learned you should make
the most of every moment.
Be your own shining star.
Though you may not be where you want to be,
it's still where you are ...
Your Own Friend
After sadly attending funeral services of friends and relatives, some leaving this earth long before "their time" was done, I have come to the realization it is imperative that one become their own friend. I had sadly learned of the death of two women in particular, one a friend and one a cousin, who were both my age. I wondered as I grieved beside friends and family if each had even been granted enough time to become their own friend. I thought about this because often this realization doesn't hit us until we are past the summer season of our youth and well into the fall or winter of our lives. I've recently begun trying to befriend myself. I know this may sound strange to some, but it's true. I am no longer being so hard on myself and not nearly as critical. As I've grown older, I've realized that much of what I have wasted precious minutes fretting over, does not truly matter and never will.
In my first book, I wrote about a letter that was received and routed around my office many years ago. It was written by the wife of an employee who knew she hadn't much time to live. This letter made such an impact on my life that I saved a copy of it and continue to live by these words she'd written:
"Regrets? I have a few. Too much worrying. I worried about finding the right husband and having children, being on time, being late and so on. It didn't matter. It all works out and it would have worked out without the worry and the tears. If I would have known then what I know now. But, I did and so do you. We're all going to die. Stop worrying and start loving and living."
Stop worrying and start living. Words to live by.
Armed with a cheap calculator, (I did not inherit a math gene) I recently computed that I spend three hours per month, which equates to an approximate 36 hours per year...folding towels! That's a day-and-a-half out of my life every year turning absorbent terrycloth rectangles into absorbent terrycloth squares! I won't even do the math on fitted sheets! Why? Because somebody somewhere made the unwritten "rule" that this is the way things must be done, and generations of parents have passed this important skill onto their sons and daughters as one of the crucial items on the "right" way to do things list.
Just for one CRAZY moment, think what would happen if you didn't spend those hours folding towels, and just haphazardly wadded them up right out of the dryer and put them on a shelf in your linen closet! Oh the horror! However, would they be any less clean? Would they be any less hard to reach? No. This is one of the needless things I am referring to that I have given far too much time and effort towards. Yet, I will continue to fold my perfect squares and stack them neatly on a shelf because it is ingrained in me.
However, it makes me wonder about the other meaningless items society has programmed into my head. For instance, has anyone ever been denied access through the gates of Heaven because he used his salad fork to eat his potatoes? Has anyone ever seen etched upon a tombstone... "Mrs. Smith is buried here in the clay...(Pssst...she wore white shoes after Labor Day!)" Has anyone lead an unfulfilled life because they never learned how to properly fold a fitted sheet?
The answer is no. I have a long list of things I used to worry and fret over until I realized they do not matter in the scheme of life. If you do choose to worry, worry about what does.
Or, in the concise, experienced words of my teenage niece, learn to just "chillax," (apparently a combination of "chill out" and "relax"). Don't sweat the small stuff or be too critical of yourself. Learn to be your own friend. Everyone has his or her own time here...this time is YOURS. Don't spend it filled with fret and regret.