Posted by: Joan Spiller | June 20, 2010

Stuff I’ve worked out, now that I am old-er..

Don’t sweat the small stuff. And it’s all small stuff. This is the title of a book I picked up around the time I got divorced.. And whilst I didn’t agree with everything in the book (you’d end up so relaxed, you’d achieve nothing if you followed all the advice lol) it did make me see that sometimes we tend to worry needlessly about all the wrong things!

Now tis fair to say that as I have aged matured, I’ve relaxed a lot over a whole bunch of things so I thought I’d share some of them for your edification and perhaps, amusement.

When I was first married, I used to fret if the toilet paper wasn’t on the holder in a certain way. (Tear side under, if that makes sense?) 20+ years on and I’m just grateful if I can REACH the stuff at that crucial moment ..

I used to always want to have the dishes washed and dried before going to bed. Why? They’re gonna get dirtier while I sleep? I now know that dishes ain’t going anywhere. I’ve learned it’s better to hang out with friends, have a wine, talk on the phone, play a game with family – whatever. Do the dishes later ..

On my bookshelf, the books had to be neatly stacked with spines out, ideally in genre and of course: positioned according to height. Now, my bookshelf is like a sarah lee cheesecake: layer upon layer of books, magazines and even the odd trinket I’ve gathered over the years. And a nice layer of dust, I’m sure.

Once upon a time if a visitor arrived and I’d not had sufficient warning to get the place tidied up I’d be in a complete tail spin. Now if someone arrives and my place is a mess (as is normal most days!) I just kick back & enjoy their company rather than wondering if they think I’m a bad house keeper. Thus far it’s worked out fine: no one has stormed out in a huff because I didn’t have spotlessly clean windows yet.

I’ve realised that saving things for “best” is a dumb thing to do. Use your favourite vase, don’t leave it languishing in a china cabinet gathering dust. Use your best or fave candles, lingerie, platters – whatever! Life’s too short not to. I bought several very expensive and beautiful fine china dinner sets and put them aside for my wedding, some years back. The wedding plans stalled but we’ve used the dinner sets a few times and whaddiya know: they’re still in 1 piece and ready should the wedding plans come back into fashion 😉

Animals should live outside not in the house!  They shed fur .. everywhere! They dribble from their food & water bowls on my kitchen floor. They snort food out their snouts (cheers, Percy). They wake you up in the middle of the night to crawl under the bedclothes when they’re cold & wet.. they hoarde manky old bones and leave gritty bits of said manky-bones in the carpet. But there’s nothing quite as nice as a cat curled up on your lap on a cold day. Or a dog or piglet sound asleep on your feet as you eat dinner. I’ve decided: Pets belong in the house, with their pack.

We’ve all seen the article written by Erma Bombeck where she ponders the things she’d have done differently (upon learning she was terminally ill) such as sitting on the grass to watch her kids play instead of worrying about grass stains. I’m sure it’s been said before – I’m willing to bet noone ever lay in bed dying and thinking about how they wish they’d spent more time doing housework!

This sort of thinking and the ‘don’t sweat it’ book have helped me to see what’s important in life.. and what isn’t! I still get it wrong occasionally but boy am I glad I no longer feel the need to fret over the dust bunnies switching my loo paper round the wrong way while I’m not watching ..  😉



  1. You’re aging?
    Don’t do it! I’m told it’s no fun ..


  2. I had to come to the same conclusion in the process of aging. Wish I had realized it when the kids were all still home. Very good Joan.


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