Shedding New Light


shedding light unintentionally

Urgency Day 14

500 Things Item 479: Floor Lamp

  • History: Years-ago IKEA purchase endured even after the bulb burned through the plastic shade
  • Value: Lights but the burnt plastic smell has been pretty unappealing
  • Parting Pain: Nope
  • Un-possessing: Donation—maybe someone can replace the shade… or doesn’t mind the smell

Who doesn’t love a fresh perspective?

Especially when you’ve been muddling along for a while, stuck in old patterns, just phoning it in.

I definitely have been muddling for much of the recent present, mostly getting Sam organized for his launch. People are often oblivious to their own muddling. I am no exception.

I was aware of a low-level hum of dissatisfaction in the white noise of my routine, but when I’m in The Routine, accomplishing The List occupies most of my attention. I am deaf to how much grumbling and venting peppers my conversation.

Is there a difference between venting and complaining?

Venting seems to be the socially acceptable form of complaining.

  • “I need to vent.”
  • “Just let me vent for a minute, then I’ll be alright.”
  • “Let’s vent over Venti lattes.”

Who hasn’t uttered at least one of those statements and gotten some sympathy? Especially if it includes the offer of coffee. But try this: try substituting the word vent with complain. Suddenly these seemingly innocent declarations are a bit less palatable, even with a coffee chaser.

Occasionally, the Eagle Scout and I have to curtail each other’s complaining. We just have to. It’s not that we don’t support each other unconditionally and want to communicate internal preoccupations. But sometimes it comes down to peace in the household.

We don’t like it when the household inter-com gets stuck on “complain.”

So I’m implementing two new energy-changing ideas. Well, new for me:

  1.  Challenging cycling habits
  2.  Shopping at Costco

Cycling: I love riding my bike. I adore our relatively flat bike trails. I do not love hills. And there are some hills and climbs on our routes I complain about tediously. On last weekend’s ride, however, something clicked. I just decided to Kill a Hill.

It’s an ascent we have to tackle near the end of many of our routes. Usually I fall well off the pace of the Fierce Riders I am with. But I want to be fierce! So I attacked the hill. And you know what? I killed it.

It felt awesome.

Costco. For years, I have complained that buying in bulk simply makes people cavalier in their consumption. It’s the “We have so much; I don’t need to conserve” attitude. I have also contended that our family of 3 has no business shopping at Costco. And now, as our household is about to downsize, I am joining Costco?

Credit my friend Vicky for shedding new light on this debate. As part of the cooking class I help teach for Families Helping Families clients, I have made several recent excursions to Costco with Vicky. She points out the great buys she has found for her own small family and is the perfect role model for conscientious bulk purchasing.

She even says that she and her husband sometimes have date-nights at the Costco Café! No matter the venue, she and I never complain about date night!

The lamp I am downsizing today sheds light in an unintended way. I am very intentionally shedding new light on old complaints. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure I will never be a perfectly contented person. But with two weeks left until Sam leaves,

I have no complaints about a fresh perspective.


6 Responses to “Shedding New Light”

  1. Donna Says:

    Costco? Suzanne? Who’d have thought it?! [NOTE: I sometimes think that I could get through most of my day with quotes from or paraphrases of lines from 1776.] I shop Costco with very specific purchases in mind and it works well for me. Not everything they sell is a bargain (I’m seeing in my mind the mighty slabs of salmon), but I think — I KNOW — I make up the cost of the yearly membership in the many double bottles of Cavit that I buy and that someone in my family then consumes in the merriment of family get-togethers. I love it when I stock up on the several paper products that I keep stashed away, the bags of six lovely red peppers, the very large containers of berries, the 3 pound bags of pistachios, the multi packs of Tic Tacs (for we all know who), the $5 roasted chickens which occasionally make dinner so easy, the deal on crab meat, the “drugs”, etc. etc. etc. And then there are the free nibbles of the cheesecakes, and the fudge, and the bread and butter, and the whatever else they are offering as I maneuver my cart through the hoards of frantic shoppers. My strings are unstrung. I am undone.

    • sthibeault Says:

      Oh, dearest friend! I thank you. Speaking of friends… the fountain in “The Lees of Old Virginia” is the same fountain they dance around at the beginning of “Friends!” In our circles, in our circles… to continue the quote-fest.

  2. boysgonewild Says:

    Suzanne? At Cosco?
    I’m sorry, did Hell freeze over and I didn’t notice?


    PS – We’ve had date night at Cosco before. Good times.

  3. melanie Says:

    Whole Foods and Trader Joes makes for a great date night if you want to get a little fancy. Especially if the shopping trip is preceeded by going out to a fancy restaurant like Taco Bell. And then go all out for the taco AND the cheesy nachos!

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