Friday, September 13, 2013


Is that glass half- empty… or half- full?

In my house, it’s more like, is that toothpaste tube nearly- empty… or just a bit full? What about the all-purpose cleaner, shampoo, mayonnaise? We have nearly- empty bottles, tubes and jars in all parts of the house (though my husband might argue those containers are actually a bit full). And being the conscientious homemaker, I make sure to purchase another while I’m out at the store.

Trouble is, I am wowed by the clean packaging of the laundry detergent, the heaviness of that shampoo bottle in my hand, the smoothness of the spreadable butter. I just NEED to open and use the new product at the first opportunity. Which means I have six types of shampoo just cluttering up my bathroom and two containers of ice cream in the freezer developing ice crystals as we speak.

Why do I love that newness of… anything and everything? It’s because it’s unblemished. It’s the promise of hope and opportunity. It’s neat and clean and simply whole.

But give it a day (or a swipe of a knife covered in toast crumbs) and suddenly this new product is ruined. Alright, maybe ruined is too dramatic. But it’s definitely changed. This product is now changed, spoiled of its simple lines and a reminder: THIS IS MY LIFE.

At each transition (getting married, having babies, moving, etc.) I saw the new start as an opportunity to BE BETTER. I’d be better at making dinner every night. I’d be better at remaining calm with my tantruming child. I’d be better at staying organized. I’d be better at keeping our new car pristine. And then a second (or a minute or a week) went by and I was right back at where I left off.

I’m trying to figure out how to deal with all the emotions that come with seeing nearly empty containers around the house. I could simply empty them and rinse them out, then send them to the recycling container, right? But then that voice in my head is reminding me how wasteful that would be and asking, why not just use up that last bit of jam? Squeeze that last bit of toothpaste out of that $4 tube. But when I start to make that sandwich, I want the NEW JAM. I don’t want to crimp and squeeze that tube to get that last bit of toothpaste. I want the ease of the new tube and plus, I like the flavor more. So then a seemingly simple decision turns into something so much bigger and all these words start flying around my brain, like wasteful and useless and excessive.

This is my head, this is where my thoughts go when I see two bottles of ketchup, one brand new and opened and the other, nearly empty and just sitting there, lonely and aging. Ridiculous, right? So what do I do? How do I settle this? Because we all know this is not just about ketchup and toothpaste and butter. It’s about the bigger picture. It’s about this internal conversation that is making the day to day a bit more of a struggle than need be. It’s about patience and commitment. It’s understanding that life is messy and unkempt and unpredictable.

Today I will use that mustard container that is mostly air and hard to empty. I will use it just today and if it splatters the mustard onto the bread à la Jackson Pollock, I will declare it empty. And I will let go and move on.

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