I’ve written previously about how much I enjoy listening to podcasts and specifically mentioned Gretchen Rubin’s “Happier” as one of my favorites. I was thrilled last week when Gretchen and her co host sister, Elizabeth, read an email I sent them on the air. I became so excited that the drivers around me in traffic must have thought I was having some kind of fit.
Another listener had previously complained about how they couldn’t get up in the morning, they just repeatedly hit the snooze button. This was something I struggled with myself, sometimes hitting the snooze for hours (really!) each morning. Of course, I was always rushed and it was no way to start each day. I tried different things, but finally went out and bought an old fashioned battery powered alarm clock with big bells on top, one that doesn’t have a snooze button. I know when my alarm goes off now that I must get up- no more nine minute reprieves.
This simple solution has been life changing for me. In fact, it was such an easy fix that I hesitated to even offer it, but it made such a difference in my morning that I sent it in to the podcast as an email suggestion. I never dreamed that my favorite podcasters would read it on air.
There is a bigger lesson here for me. I often hesitate to post something on my blog or make a suggestion in a work or church group. I think to myself, “no one wants to read about that,” or “this has probably already been tried and rejected as a solution.” I need to push myself more to venture outside my comfort zone. I shouldn’t worry about possible judgment and be willing to showcase my ideas. There may be some (or many!) that are duds, but I shouldn’t let that hold me back.
This is a picture of my Vera Bradley tote bag, the only name brand accessory I own, though I have long admired their designs. I received this as a company gift when I hit my 10 year anniversary. They gave me a little catalog that included watches, dishes, and jewelry and let me pick whatever I wanted. I had a lot of fun, looking at all the different options before settling on the bag. Why not? It was a chance to get something I had coveted, but for free. I was not disappointed when it arrived as I recognized its quality as soon as I opened the package. It has leather pull tabs on the zippers and lots of well sewn pockets. And I love the bright blue color in the design (it’s called Santiago). I was impressed, so impressed in fact, that I hung it in my closet on a hanger and did nothing but look at it for over two years.
Now, it’s a pretty bag, but I highly doubt that the designers meant it to be closet decor. However, every time I thought about using it, I told myself it might get dirty or torn. But what’s better? Owning a pristine bag that hung in the closet where it was never used or enjoyed, or owning a pretty bag that served its purpose and over time began to show wear and tear? A few weeks ago I finally convinced myself to start using it to take my gym clothes to work every day. I’m enjoying seeing it among the other things I grab before work and hanging on the back of my office door. I’m pleased that I have finally allowed it to serve the function it was meant for.
Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, uses the term “spending out” to describe utilizing an object for its intended purpose rather than saving it for a special time. It wasn’t until I heard her talk about this as an aspect of her personality that I realized was not alone and this wasn’t just my own weird quirk.
Sadly, I’ve gone through storage containers looking for something and discovered items I had set aside for a special occasion years before, that are no longer useable. They have either expired or required parts or pieces that I had already gotten rid of and had to be thrown away. What a waste! The diamond earrings my husband bought me many years ago sit hidden in a drawer as I’m have been so afraid of losing them, they are rarely worn. I’m thinking it’s time to start.