I only opened the drawer to see what colors of socks were clean. (Preparation for Crop Camp and for a five-day work week in the not so distant future.)
Before I knew it, I was sprawled out on the floor, the drawer pulled out before me, its contents strewn about in a variety of stacks. It hadn’t been my intention to clean out this drawer, but there I was doing it just the same.
And with a new year having just began, the timing seemed more than appropriate. As I sat there, socks, slips, headbands, wristwraps, underwear, camisoles and a variety of other ladylike treasures surrounding me, it occurred to me that this was a lot like life.
The healthy stack of black, brown and other solid-color socks were the “useful” things, the things I need. The things I’m most likely to use. Then, there was another stack of more than well-worn athletic socks, some even solo selections, the mate long having been lost, perhaps eaten by a dryer.
Reluctantly, I began to pick these from the fray. I tossed them aside.
Then I noticed there was a growing stack of socks still sewn together, some even with the tags still attached, almost all bearing some wild design or another. (These represent a collection I’ve been given over holidays and birthdays by well-meaning family and friends. I have, on occasion, worn some of these gifts, but rarely more than a few times.) So, I carefully went through those that were unused. Would I seriously wear these? Ever? If the answer was no, they went into a pile to be donated.
There were also a few unpleasant surprises as I discovered at least a pair or two that had made their way back to the drawer instead of into the laundry. Those were promptly plucked out and added to a growing stack of wash.
Yes. A lot like life. Things we need. Things we don’t. Those very unpleasant surprises. Things we could use – if we made the effort to do so. And things we know we’ll never use but just aimlessly hang onto anyway.
These are things I’m guilty of both emotionally and physically in ways far exceeding socks. In 2009, I made some great strides in letting go of emotional baggage, some which had been hanging around since childhood. Some of it very damaging. And while you can’t control your memories or what triggers them, I can say that it is getting much easier to control how I react to them. That is a choice and it’s one that I have the power to make.
I pondered this as I gathered up the discards and donations, as I neatly returned the useful solids and the collection of ladylike necessities to precious order within the drawer.
I’m hoping that as 2010, a new year – a new decade, gets under way that I continue to exercise this judiciousness and maintain this kind of order in other aspects of my life. It will be a way of building on some of the ground I managed to cover last year.
Yes, order and judiciousness – but never to the extent that you won’t occasionally catch my feet clad in colonial blue socks bearing puffy cartoon penguins.