Image by Bridgman Pottery
I’m not really much of a housework type person. I don’t hate it, but it doesn’t interest me either. I can bear a fair bit of untidiness until I feel the need to tidy up.
One job that symbolises housework for me is sorting the socks after washing them. But I got to thinking about this piece of housework and it was kind of interesting.
It can be quite difficult to sort socks. I can easily get confused. There are so many of them and so many differences that it is hard to know which goes with which.
Here’s how I go about sorting the socks into pairs after they’ve been washed.
1. I discard all the things that clearly aren’t socks. Shirts, pants singlets and so forth.
2. I then look for the obvious differences between the socks. Long and short, different colours and so on.
3. Then I move on to less obvious differences. Perhaps a different style of band at the top of the sock.
In short it is a process of moving from the obvious to less obvious: an increasing refinement of perception.
I think this is a useful process for other times in our life. Let’s take an example of making a major change in our life.
1. When we are feeling confused and overwhelmed it is useful to start with what is obvious.
When we are making a major life change it may far more obvious what we don’t like or what we don’t want than what we do want. This stakes out a territory that we can explore. If my marriage has ended it may be that there are certain attribute of my old partner that I definitely don’t want in my new partner. This could still leave a large number of potentially new partners.
2. Obvious differences within the range available. Within the territory staked out there are other obvious differences. With new potential partners: some may only be interested in marriage, others may be definitely uninterested. Some will prefer a more traditional kind of relationship, others will be hostile to this, and others may dislike the idea of the relationship being decided in any way.
3. Ever finer detail. We start becoming aware of finer details. This partner likes the traditional kind of marriage, and wants to live in a particular kind of house in a particular area. This person wants to work 60 hours at their job and isn’t interested in living tidily. This person has a keen aesthetic sense and is extremely committed to their family.
Moral of the story: housework can be interesting, sometimes.
*“Socks” is the Australian spelling of ‘sox’ for those in other parts of the world.
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