By Stephanie Sullivan
I did something earlier this week…. I changed my kitchen cabinet handles. “So what?”, you say. Well, I despised the ones we had, mostly because I would constantly catch my clothes on the sides of the handles that stick out, pulling me back, pulling open drawers or cabinets with my pockets, and only by pure luck, not tearing my clothes. On a few occasions, my young son has also hit his head on the ends that stick out, or I have smacked my hand/knuckles on them. So, I FINALLY changed them, and let me tell you, immediately I knew that the new ones were soooo much better, eliminating the annoyance caused on a regular basis. So…. why oh why did we wait so long to swap them out? It cost a little over $100 and it took an hour or two max, and yet we lived with it, tolerated it, and were unhappy with it for seven years, SEV-EN years!! So, WHY??? We can try to justify it with the realities of life… life is busy, new baby/kids, lockdowns (maybe delayed it further, but we haven’t been in lockdown for 7 years), time just passes us by, other competing or more important priorities, just trying to get through the day. Or, maybe, just maybe, we have become accustomed to tolerating things in our life which are not working for us, and we accept and settle for things being the way they are, even when we know they can and should be better, less frustrating, less draining, and more functional and enjoyable.
This got me thinking about change and regrets, and why we hold onto things, accepting the way they/we are, even when unhappy or dysfunctional, versus making a change for the better. I am not really one who looks back on life with feelings of regret, but if there was something, it would be once making a change, often thinking, “why didn’t I do this sooner?”.
Or, maybe, just maybe, we have become accustomed to tolerating things in our life which are not working for us, and we accept and settle for things being the way they are, even when we know they can and should be better, less frustrating, less draining, and more functional and enjoyable.
Looking back, my big ones have been the following:
#1: Holding on to unhealthy relationships for way too long.
#2: Staying at a job from which I got very little fulfillment or appreciation, and yet stayed for many, many years.
#3: Holding on to a high-paying corporate job (financial security) when I knew I wanted to do something else instead, and create a different lifestyle.
#4: Not paying enough attention to my passions and interests earlier in life, and not spending time to make more out of them (whether it be as a hobby or potential career).
#5: Holding onto possessions for too long, or not clearing out things often enough, resulting in clutter and running out of space in our home, or maybe even creating financial strain when the possession is a large one (like a home, or an extra vehicle, boat, recreational vehicle, etc.).
#6: Tolerating those kitchen cabinet handles for seven years (seriously!), and probably several other improvements that would make my home more functional and enjoyable.
Maybe some would view my kitchen cabinet handles as just one of life’s little annoyances, but they were nagging (or more appropriately “snagging” me) and creating frustration on a regular basis.
Little life annoyances vs. bigger life issues
Maybe some would view my kitchen cabinet handles as just one of life’s little annoyances, but they were nagging (or more appropriately “snagging” me) and creating frustration on a regular basis. I was even using the “H” word (Hate), which my 4-year-old reminds me that we are not supposed to say in our house, and sometimes other hostile curse words under my breath so he can’t hear. It was really brining down my mood when doing everyday things in the kitchen. Now, I’m going to be able to move about my kitchen more freely, literally without getting stuck or pulled back, which means being in that room/space is going to be much more enjoyable, and hopefully free from cursing.
So, I come back to “why?”. Why do we wait so long to change things which we know we are unhappy with, or are dysfunctional, or not working for us?