For the past year or so, I have had a favorite sweater. Its good points are excellent; it’s the right weight for layering, soft, but not fuzzy and fits just right. Its one drawback? The color is completely unremarkable.
If we are being charitable, we could call it “linen,” although it’s really just kind of a taupey, oatmealy non-color, color. It’s basically the “builder’s beige” of the sweater world; gets the job done, completely inoffensive, but nothing anyone is going to see and pull out all the stops to replicate in their own life.
Although it’s certainly not the most flattering of the sweaters I own, I like it, because it’s easy. Recently, I was folding the sweater and realized it had probably seen its best days. While I have babied it (laundry wise) to get as much longevity as I could, I have more than gotten my $25 worth and it’s beginning to look a bit worn.
Naturally, it caused me to feel a bit sad as something I have loved, is not likely to be part of my life much longer. I have considered if there’s anything I can do to hang onto it and get a bit more life from it, but it’s destined to be relegated to the “only wear around the house” part of the drawer.
This got me thinking, do we tend to hold onto our favorites, even when they no longer serve us as well as they used to?
Maybe it’s a pattern of thinking, a skill or a belief, but my guess is, we tend to find something comfortable and hold on like grim death.
So, what can be done?
- Not becoming so attached in the first place. I actually have no idea how to do this, but it’s still a viable thought. Perhaps you are one of those people who sees things as constantly in motion and you don’t ever really hold onto anything too long. (On behalf of the rest of us, please let me say we think that’s really neat and we would like you to please consider teaching a class and sharing your secrets.)
- Continually upgrade. One of my all-time favorite quotes is by Ray Kroc (American businessman who helped McDonald’s become the global force it is today). He said, “You are either green and growing or ripe and rotting.” In practice, this would look like having a growth mindset and ever expanding your tool kit of resources.
- Let something serve you until it no longer does. This means you enjoy the practical use of something until you realize it doesn’t work, then you grieve the loss and replace it. The hardest part of this is probably not the letting go, but the realizing you need to in the first place.
It’s likely that there are some spaces in your life that you have either already realized are simply no longer working or you have the suspicion they might be getting close. This might be a good time to take stock and consider if it’s time for change.
While I am sad that my favorite sweater will no longer be in heavy rotation, I can still enjoy it, from time to time. By shifting focus, I can make room for something more flattering that will serve me better both now and into the future.