Sunday, October 11, 2009

Big But

I hate to clean. (I'll bet you didn’t see that one coming.)

Don’t get me wrong. I love a clean house/car/desk, but seriously…what’s the point?? The dust…the dirt...the mess…it all just comes back.

Seriously. Why can't my hair grow and the paychecks show up in the mail as fast as the dust manages to pile up on my coffee table??

With that speed-time-warp-thing happening, I will honestly think it’s been a week since I’ve last dusted when it’s been more like…well, a month.


I know, I know. “Set a routine,” that’s what everyone suggests. I’ll get right on that…just as soon as I get a minute to create a cleaning-routine. I'll admit, it's not really all that high on my list.

One of the few advantages to cleaning is that it’s totally mindless…I can be vacuuming in the physical sense, but in my head I’ve gone to my happy place. Instead of inhaling dust mites, I’m breathing in the sea air…not bad, right? Whilst on my mindless journey towards cleanliness, I got to thinking about that curse that is the big “But”.

You know what I mean…right?

It’s that niggling negative thought that comes right on the tail of a nice thought.

Some examples of the “But” in action:

“Wow! Congratulations on your new baby!”
“Thanks! It’s great…BUT now I have 30 lbs of baby-weight to lose and I haven’t slept in weeks.”

“Hey! I hear you have a new job. Fantastic!”
“Yep, I’m really happy...BUT now I’m commuting two hours a day and the traffic is murder.”

"That divorce was hard on you. I’m so happy you’ve found love again.”
“I know, BUT he keeps eating my hidden stash of Double Stuff Oreos…I may have to end it.”

You get the idea.

There’s inevitably a “but”. Why does it seem like we’re never happy for long with what we have? Is it that “grass-is-always-greener” mentality, or are we somehow genetically wired to always wanting just a little bit more?

My mom had a saying: “Everybody has something.”


It’s all making sense now. I would always wonder about having it “all”. Exactly what is “all” anyway? And doesn’t it mean different things to different people? Certainly, we’ve all longed for various things at various stages of our lives. I can remember when the most important thing to me was saving enough green to buy a rabbit fur jacket I’d seen. (I bought it…wore it to death and realized I had no money left to get it cleaned.) I wonder whatever happened to that jacket…and why did I have to have it professionally cleaned, anyway? I to rabbits clean themselves...aren't they like cats? Couldn't I just spit on it and wipe it down with my sleeve? (Cut me some slack here people...I was only 14!)

Which makes me really ponder…if we just wait long enough, will we stop wanting some things? Probably. But then, was it really all that important in the first place? Probably not.

I have a theory: I think that “everybody has something” is Mom-code for “don’t always assume that everyone else is having a better life than you. They’ve got their own crap,” or something along these lines.

Actually, I don’t think Mom ever said the word “crap”. I suppose after her long-suffering, self-proclaimed “thirty-seven-straight-years-changing-a-diaper-every-single-day” while raising four children, she might have developed an aversion to any word in the same family (pun intended) as “crap”.

Geez, Mom. Way to lay on the guilt. We weren’t that bad.

In hindsight, I can remember Mom telling me how she’d practically “wished away our childhoods”…just waiting for the day when she didn’t have to deal with our bodily functions on such an up-close and personal level. Now, I realize that she was probably looking at other women…and wondering if they had it “all”.

Meanwhile we’re all just trying to balance love, life and work. Sometimes, we deftly keep all those little balls in the air…other times, it's any wonder we don't have weekly concussions from all those heavy, responsibility-laden balls clocking us in the noggin as they hurtle perilously down on us.

So, I’m going to re-define the “But”:

“My life may not be perfect BUT…at least I don’t have Donald Trump’s hair.”


Not quite there. Let’s try that again:

“I may not have it all, BUT…I’m pretty grateful for what I do have.”

There…now I’m golden.


JD at I Do Things said...

I love your new "but" philosophy, and I especially love your mom's succinct but "says-it-all" phrase. It's true. Everybody has something.

Here, let me try:

I may have gained 2 lbs this week BUT I enjoyed every calorie and will get back on track next week.


Bobby Allan said...

Great post!

My mother always tells me to make a schedule for cleaning. "It's more manageable that way." This coming from a woman who stopped working the day she got married.

Lauren said...

One of my favourite quotes is: "Having it all doesn't necessarily mean having it all at once." It usually annoys me when I really start thinking about it. Oh... how human...

Anonymous said...

Here's mine:

My house needs to be clean, BUT it will still need cleaning tomorrow.

I should warn you, I have employed many tactics to avoid cleaning when company is coming.

1) Dirty clothes in the bathtub, with the shower curtain closed = no laundry to be done.

2) Dirty dishes piled in the dishwasher but not started = clean dishes.

3) Random crap (sorry, Kathryn's mom) on the floor stuffed into closets = clean floor.

Not recommending any of these, just saying. And, if you are interested, I have lots more.

Spot said...

What a good post! The last part was so good that I'm not even going to call PETA and tell them you wore real fur!!! Just kidding. PETA hates hubby's a hunter.

Anywho, your post embodied my whole philosophy- be grateful for what you have because someone, somewhere is wishing that they had what you do at this very moment. Focus on the good things in your life instead of the problems. And that's what keeps me going.

Great post K!

Alicia said...

A great post for a Sunday morning. And since it's a day of rest, I don't have to clean right?

Now it's time for breakfast. Have a great Sunday, thanks for stopping by!

pinkplumeria said...

I'm one of the rarities in life and really enjoy cleaning and reorganizing and yes, I enjoy doing laundry. I don't have a routine, I just do it because I find it very therapeutic.

My take on us always wanting more...there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. You should always want more, but before you can want more, you gotta appreciate and accept what you have. If you have it all, what's there to look forward to? What's there to improve? What's the next challenge? Accept what is, enjoy the moment, and be enthusiastic with every moment you have. It's the philosophy I try to live by and so far, it's kept my life pretty simple and full of light and aloha.

MJ said...

A very inspiring post, even with all the humor laced through out!

MJ of Dirty Little Confessions

An Open Heart said...

Yeah, I find that the "buts" sneak into to my good stuff....completely without provocation! I do find myself noticing it more and find that the more I notice it, the less it sneaks in on me.

It is an inspiring post, thanks!


A.L.Smith said...

I love the "but". Seems to be the story of my life. This was very entertaining and made me realize how often I use the "but". Thanks

Unknown said...

I used to be jealous of others having what I thought I wanted, BUT :) listening to Dave Ramsey put it into perspective for me. They may have all the "stuff" that I wish I had, but they probably also have all the debt to go along with it. I'd rather be debt-free and content than owe a gazillion dollars for all my "happiness". Debt-free ROCKS!

Here's a good quote for you ...
"Happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have." ~Unknown

Great post, as usual!

Momiji chan said...

yea i do cleaning on saturdays and sorry i havent been on in a while been playing flyff

Lisa Gates said...

Nice post to find today!

What would it be like to consider AND instead of BUT in every statement?

Not either or, but yes AND. Whaddya think?

snoble24 said...

yep people tend to wish for more than they have. i do it myself. i am happy with what i have i just want more. humans are never satisfied. anyway your last two buts were great ways to think. i may not have alot but i am grateful for what i have seems like something i would say from time to time. be happy with what you got life isn't perfect

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

Great post Kathryn!
I always tell my kids a version of the "everyone has something" deal. But you're right; we need to focus sometimes on all we do have.

Chrissie said...

I like your "but" philosophy very much.

I suppose I should admit that I like cleaning. This does not mean that I clean all the time BUT if I am bored and feeling too energetic to watch television, watch out dust mites! Here I come.
I think its partly to do with the fact that I like rearranging furniture. I get bored with it in the same spot every day. And I can't change the furniture without first cleaning everything in its way, right?

jessicabold said...

I don't care how long I wait...I'll always want sex...and chocolate.

Heather said...

Thought provoking blog!

I wanted that rabbit coat also, I didn't get it BUT that's ok.

Since then I focus my wants on things I really do need, instead of luxary items. "I want a new shed, I need it for storage" vs. "I want that cute purse, (stupid head you got 5 purses in your closet and you don't go anywhere for anyone to admire it), I don't need it."

Yeah, I yell at myself a lot!

BlackLOG said...

Wow, just had a great weekend away and I've come back to find I'm two 'From The Inside Out's' down. This is great but I don't have enough time to catch up and do the cleaning...

I might have to employ a cleaner

I might also have to employ a reader....

At this rate I might as well employ a writer for the BlackLOG as well and go into retirement

KT said...

Loved today's post, it couldn't have come up at the most perfect time. I had been feeling this way for a while. Not the but's part, BUT feeling like I want what others have.

Shawn said...

I work everyday at keeping the but in the right perspective... So here's my but for today:

I may not live in the cleanest house in the world, or even the block, but it's warm and cozy and full of love!

Have a fabulous week!

kathryn said...

JD at I Do Things: I love it! THAT'S the spirit! What's 2 lbs anyway? That's like...5 minutes of ZUMBA??

Chrissy: Well, then maybe she's not the best person to advise! I say let Bernie straighten up for you 2 days a week. Sound fair, Bernie-girl??

Lauren: Oh, but it's so true! That and the fact that we never seem to be able to focus on the good for very long...without going over to the dark side...have you noticed this?

Fumbling Confidence: HA!'ve managed to confirm my "procrastination" post with the "Big But" post...all rolled into one. You're GENIUS, I tell ya!

Spot: Thanks, sweetie! It's really easy to get caught up in what you *think* you's just ironic that it took me so long to "get" what my mom was talking about. "Everybody has something." It's genius!

Alicia: Thank you, my dear...and you're welcome! My pleasure!

pinkplumeria: Sounds good to me! The biggest problem that I see is that everyone has their own version of what "all" is. Therein lies the problem. Thanks for commenting!

MJ: Thank you! Gotta have the humor...what would be DO without the humor?!?

An Open Heart: Thank YOU for the kind words! I think we're all guilty of the Big But...I just brought it to everyone's attention.

A.L.Smith: Well, I'm in the same boat...otherwise, I wouldn't have known about it! I think we're all gonna try harder to use "but" less. Right??

Kimberly: Thank you! And you are correct, my dear: no debt DOES rock!

kathryn said...

saku chan: Well, you're allowed to play, girlie! Just don't forget to stop in for your daily chuckle, 'kay?

Lisa Gates: 'Tis very true! Anything would be better than the "big but"...certainly the word "and" has a much better feel. Thanks for the comment!

snoble24: Very well said! Yes, we all do it...wish for more. Sometimes, we just need to remember that we're not doing so bad with what we have...

Maureen@IslandRoar: Thanks...I couldn't agree more. Esp for our children...who already have SO MUCH MORE than we ever did! (Insert heavy, dramatic sigh here.)

Chrissie: Oh, come live near me! Pulease!!? I NEED someone like YOU to motivate me!!

jessicabold: Um. Relevance?

Heather: Aw! What's with all the YELLING? Thing is, I can ALWAYS figure out a way to justify "needing" something...even if I really just "want" it. Right?

BlackLOG: Don't think I didn't notice you were missing, mister. I'll expect a full report on your whereabouts, comments in all the correct places, a new blog post and a recent blood sample on my desk by 9am.

book*addict: Everybody feels that way! It's human nature, I think. The trick is to remember that no-one has it ALL...we tend to forget that most things come with a PRICE. I know that I don't wanna pay it!

kathryn said...

Shawn: Aw, honey....that is absolutely PERFECT. Love it!

Me said...

The hidden stash of Double Stuff Oreos is great! I have had to resort to finding things I can love that my husband will never dream of liking, otherwise nothing is sacred.

Ron said...

Brava, Kathryn!

This post is SO FULL of wisdom and truth!

As a child, I would quite often wish I had someone else's life; imagining that it was SO MUCH better than my own.

My mother also told me the same as yours, but in different words. She use to say, "Don't ever wish or envy that you had someone else's life, because you never know."

And she was right.

Thank god, as I've gotten older I've learned to notice the bountiful things I have in my own life. Health being the main thing. Also a job, food, and a roof over my head.

This post goes so well with the one that I posted last week on manifestation. I believe that when I focus on the things I have in my life to be grateful for, it automatically manifests more things to be grateful for without actually trying to manifest them.

Thank you for sharing this post, my golden friend!

Hope you had a great weekend!


kathryn said...

Stewie Speaks Out: HA! Of course, the other option is to hide the really good stuff behind the spices in the cabinet....or, behind the frozen broccoli in the freezer. They'd NEVER think to look there!

kathryn said...

Ron! What a wise woman, your mom...."You never know"...and "Everybody has something"...boy,they really knew their stuff, right? It seems like it's so much easier to just want....than to truly say "I'm blessed with what I already have..."
Thanks for stopping by, my friend...

Natalie said...

I absolutely love this post. Very inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

The Confessionist said...

We are only human - the ones who have everything whine and complain
and are always looking for that little bit more. My mother always tells me that 'there is always someone worse off that you. You may feel sorry for the person with no shoes, but that person with no shoes feels sorry for the person with no feet'. I think about that every time I complain about something.. it seems to work, I'm thankfull for what I have.

I am also inspired by your new 'but' philosphy. Except I don't think it could apply to cleaning (not my favourite thing).
'I am cleaning right now BUT I could be doing something way better' haha :)

Anonymous said...

“My life may not be perfect BUT…at least I don’t have Donald Trump’s hair.”

My stomach hurts now from laughing so hard. xD I love your use of humor, Kathryn. I cannot write humor to save my life but I'm glad you can. It helps me get through my day. Keep up the awesome blogging, my friend. (:

Unknown said...

Great post, Kathryn. It sounds like it came at just the right time for several us. I think it may just pulled me right out of my funk and set me up for a better day - thanks!

starfish264 said...

Funny thing this, but my cleaning only ever gets done when I'm procrastinating over something else ... odd that!! So really, all you have to do, is find something really important that you have to do, but want to do less than the cleaning ... and you'll be amazed by how clean your house is!

I'm an absolute shocker for wanting "everything". I don't even know what "it all" is, but if I don't have it, I want it - 'nough said. I don't even take time to celebrate achieving getting one thing I wanted, before I pick holes in it, and go in search of the next thing. I'm frequently whinging about how disappointing my life is, until my friends kindly point out all the things in my life that they don't have, but would like, and the pitfalls of all the things they have which I desperately want. So I'm going to add this - I may not have it all - BUT I have lovely friends who frequently reassure me that I do have ENOUGH, and put my insanity / neuroticism back in perspective. :o)

JP said...

It's the line from the Sheryl Crow song...

It's not having what you want
It's wanting what you've got

of course that being said... yeah it's always greener on the other side.

Tinkerschnitzel said...

It might be raining for 2 weeks straight, BUT at least stuff is still growing AND I haven't had to water the yard or garden in a month!

So glad you brought this up. I've been in a funk myself all weekend due to the weather. I'm a huge Dave Ramsey fan myself. Debt free rocks! Have you ever noticed that when you have all the money in the world to spend, you can't find anything to spend it on?

John Woo said...

like your post, thanks for sharing, it is very useful theory

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Someone once said to me "If there is BUT in a sentence you can usually disregard what was said before the BUT" and I believe this to be true...

...just my 2c worth..

Mark Price said...

Kathryn, Great post! Ithink rabbits have to lick each others coats so you would need a really good friend to help clean your coat and I wouldn't recommend letting on about it falling off the bathroom stall door at school. As for my double stuff oreos, my wife wouldn't dare...even if she did find them in the garage!

talk before sleep said...

I love this post! Yes it is so true that we all want "things" in our lives. I can't tell you how often I hear myself or friends say..."i'll be happy when I have a boyfriend" "I'll be happy when I lose 10 lbs" etc. I know you may have been more so talking about wanting material things but i think it also relates to the non-tangible stuff that we want. I've been trying to find balance in my life with being grateful for what I have all of the time, getting the things I need most of the time, and splurging on what I want some of the time. :)

Here's mine for today-
I may have to work two jobs BUT working the one that I don't like affords me to work the one I LOVE. Happy Monday!!

kathryn said...

serendipitous: Thank you so much for the lovely compliment! (I love your ID name & avatar as well.)Thanks for the comment and the flw!

The Confessionist: HA! Truth be told, the only reason I brought up the cleaning is that my mind wanders during it...and it makes for some good blog material! All I know is that I don't like how I feel when I envy makes me feel dark, I avoid it at all costs. Thanks for the comment.

Insanity! Always good to see you, sweetie! Hey-you keep writing your awesome poems & thoughts and I'll take care of the humor. Deal? Between the 2 of us, we'll have a perfect balance. Thanks for the smile!

ValleyWriter:Oh,you're so welcome! I'm happy if it made someone feel better-I think we all need to remember to use the Big But properly!

starfish264: It seems to be the way we're wired, sweetie. Everyone has those conversations with their friends...I always think, "If you wanna play the 'pity me' card, you're gonna LOSE, chump!", but in my heart, I know things can always be worse! Then I get REAL again.

JP: How true, my man....of course, isn't that also the song that says, "It's ten thousand spoons, when all you need is a knife?" No, wait. Wrong gong...wrong artist.
And, I haven't even had a cocktail yet!!

kathryn said...

Tinkerschnitzel: Good for you re: the rain analogy. I like that! As for the money? I've no idea what it would be like to not have anything to spend it on! I'd like to find out, though!!

John Woo: Thanks! I'm glad you liked it!

Gillian: I can buy that. I guess they mean that usually what comes before the "but" is the complaint-part. Right?

Mark Price: HA! Well, the Double-Stuff-Oreo secret is safe w/me, bud. As for the friend licking my coat, I don't think there are any friends that are THAT loyal/desperate/sick! (I just read back this comment...this has to be the strangest group of words ever put in a sentence! ONLY YOU will know what the hell I'm talking about, my friend!)

Oddyoddyo13 said...

Wow. Its amazing how she can go from talking about cleaning to explaining human nature and dissecting the meaning of the morals parents give us in the form of riddles.

kathryn said...

talk before sleep: "I've been trying to find balance in my life with being grateful for what I have all of the time, getting the things I need most of the time, and splurging on what I want some of the time. :)"
I could not have said this better. Absolutely perfect!

Oddyoddyo13: Yep. That's me. Actually, the cleaning is the diversion that make me think all those awesome, deep, profoundly thought-provoking thoughts....

Loredana said...

I hate living my life in 'but's'. Actually I have a friend that constantly lives this way and it is SO irritating because nothing she says is anything that could be considered horrible.

I have a great boyfriend, BUT he dresses badly.

I have nice pair of jeans, BUT no boots to go with it.

I'm always startled at how long I can listen to her before I zone out and think, I have great friends, BUT she's not one of them.

Great post!

Unknown said...

I love your new but! Wait a minute, that sounds silly... oh well I'm not worried about sounding silly. ;)

I may not have it all BUT some days I get damn close!

I may not be perfect BUT I am at peace with that fact.

It may only be Wednesday BUT that means it's no longer Monday! WOOOT!

Sorry I'm a bit behind on my reading... slowpoke me... procrastinating on blogging because I was out taking pictures. This is acceptable, no? :o)

Have a great day punkin!


kathryn said...

Loredana: LOVE that last line...and so very, very true! I mean, how long can you listen to someone drone on and on...everything with a "but" thrown in...kinda as a disclaimer..."look at me...I'm so miserable". It grates after a while.
Thanks for the compliment!

kathryn said...

Smoog! You may love my new But....I won't take it the wrong way! Loooved your examples of making it work for you...they sound great to me.

You are excused if the reason is great photo-taking. However, you may not be excused for anything as trivial as say, root canal or jury duty. Sounds fair, right???

Missed ya!

Oddyoddyo13 said...

You know, I wonder why people think they have to clean. Is there some law saying they have to? I've never read one, though my Mom seems to know laws that I don't. (You know the ones; wash the dishes before you put it in the dishwasher, scrub out the toilet like its actually going to stay clean, and, my favorite, do your chores the day you're supposed to. Personally, I think waiting for as long as possible and watching her face turning redder and redder is much more amusing.)

BLANK said...

Kathryn, the blogging philosopher :3
Yet there are some terrible BUT's like for the anorexic ones "I'm hungry BUT... i'm getting skinnier." Sorry, totally random but I love the “My life may not be perfect BUT…at least I don’t have Donald Trump’s hair.”

Unknown said...

You are excused if the reason is great photo-taking. However, you may not be excused for anything as trivial as say, root canal or jury duty. Sounds fair, right???

Perfectly fair... in fact I'd say *more* than fair. But I have to tell you... if I get called for jury duty I'm going for it! I would find it fascinating! Rest assured I'd sacrifice my sleep and eating (if I had to) to make a visit to your blog though. ;)

kathryn said...

Oddyoddoy13: Yeah, I really do hate to clean...although I looooove a clean house. There's nothing like it. But, I've leaned it only works if YOU'RE the only one to live there...anyone else just screws it all up!

Mandarin Kitten: Well, let's face it, my dear: No-one would voluntarily want Donald Trump's hair!!

Smoog! Uh huh. And you're thinking that if you're sequestered, they won't have a problem with you bringing in laptop as long as it's just for blogging purposes only? Let me know how that works out for you, Smoog!

Unknown said...

Smoog! Uh huh. And you're thinking that if you're sequestered, they won't have a problem with you bringing in laptop as long as it's just for blogging purposes only? Let me know how that works out for you, Smoog!

.... DOH!!!

I hadn't even thought of that. Just goes to show you what I know about things like this. I'll find a way... I am pretty determined... hell hath no fury like a blogger detained. LOL!

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