The Opposite of Just In Case

The Opposite of Just In Case

One of the reasons we have so much extra stuff in our lives is the ‘just in case’ excuse (articulated really well in this post by Courtney Carver).

I’m learning (slowly) to let go of that excuse, to live my life with what I need now and to trust that if or when I need something else, I will have to wherewithal to get it.

For example…

Now that the bakery has passed its start-up phase, I am pulling back from my involvement with it and building my Reiki practice. This leads to all kinds of plans and what-ifs.

I’m finding that standing for long periods of time makes my ankles swell, especially in the summertime. And Reiki, as I practice it now, involves standing during most of a one-hour treatment.

The woman who taught me sits on a yoga ball while giving a treatment. It keeps her alert and is nearly silent to move around. It seems the ideal piece of equipment for my Reiki studio.

But I haven’t bought one yet because, while I’m hoping to see lots and lots of clients in any given week, I’m not seeing them yet. And the one or two I am seeing now aren’t really stressing my ankles in any noticeable way.  So I’ll wait. Because a lot can happen between where I am now and where I’m planning to be. The yoga classes that I’m taking could make my ankles stop swelling (I’m already seeing an improvement) so that standing even twenty hours a week won’t be a problem. The distance Reiki portion of my business might take off and I can sit for those treatments.

Or, being perfectly honest with myself, I may wander off and do something else entirely.

In any of the above scenarios, I will not need a yoga ball. And it’s not something you can use as extra seating at a dinner party. So I’ll wait. I won’t buy one just in case. I’ll wait until it becomes an essential purchase. I’ll wait until buying it will solve more problems than it will cause. I’ll wait until I know for sure that it’s a good idea.

OK. Likely my thought process for buying a damn yoga ball isn’t nearly as fascinating to you as it is to me, but I wanted to walk you through it so that you could use the same process on some of your purchases.

Because don’t new ventures seem to clutter up our lives? The art class that ‘requires’ a carload of new supplies. The knitting hobby that results in a stash of yarn that could outfit an entire neighbourhood in sweaters if only you could find the time to make them. The clothes we buy because you gotta have back-up sweaters/tees/shoes/etc. even though we only really wear our favourites over and over again anyway.

It can be a little scary extricating yourself from just in case thinking. What will you do if you run out of tees? What if something breaks and you don’t have a back-up something?

Well…. You’ll likely cope. And if you pay attention to how you’re coping and how that feels, you may find that you don’t even need to replace that thing.

I drink several cups of tea a day. So, clearly, I need a kettle to boil the water in, right? That was the assumption I made for many years, even though the electric kettles I had were kind of annoying. They took up valuable counter space. The cords got in my way. The element gunked up with minerals from our hard water. And they couldn’t be used for any other purpose.

One day, our electric kettle broke. So I got a pan, put some water in it and boiled it on the stove. Easy. I felt like I was camping.

Life was particularly busy at that point, so weeks went by before either of us were anywhere we could buy an new kettle. And in the meantime, minerals built up on the inside of the pot and were very easily scrubbed away. I was able to reheat my soup. And there was a little more space on my counter.

When Alan and I found ourselves in a store that sold kettles, I said, “Y’know…. I don’t really want one.”

So we walked away.

And I admit, I did feel a little funny not having one. It seemed like one of those things that grown-ups are supposed to have. Until one day, we had company and I started to apologize for boiling their tea water in a pot (why?). And he said, “Oh. I thought this was a chef thing, that maybe it made the water better for the tea!” So we went with that and I’ve stopped apologizing and realized that nobody actually cares and the only requirement for being a grown-up is to be a grown-up and offering to make tea for someone is such a nice thing that no one is going to even notice how you boil the damn water.

Again, maybe too much detail for one item of kitchen equipment. But it’s the mindless acquisition of items like this that clutter up our houses and our lives. Thinking through the details and questioning our assumptions gives us more space, more peace.

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9 Responses to The Opposite of Just In Case

  1. sandy says:

    I love you. And your Reiki treatments. And your writing. And your tea.

  2. Deb Easson says:

    Wow, yes. Our coffee maker died. Thought about buying a new one for a long time – like a couple of years now. What I learned? That old Melitta cone and pot make great coffee. Everytime. Counter uncluttered. Feeling very retro and clever. Same thing with garlic presses. Why? My knife does a great job and is a whole lot easier to clean up. I am happy that you validate our experience. It’s hard bucking the buy, buy, buy pressure. Thanks.

  3. Mindy says:

    You’re a wise woman, Barb.

  4. Douglass says:

    Put a lid on it!

    Seriously. A pot, with a lid, the right size, and presto changeo, not only do you have more counter space, you use less energy — to boil the water, make the damned electric kettle, and all the in-betweens.

    One of the best things about simple, though not mentioned often enough perhaps, is that it also creates more living space — and breathing room — for the future too.

    Yoga balls, on the other hand, scare the bejeebers out of me!


  5. Karen says:

    Your posts always come at the right time…

  6. Pingback: The Usefulness of Broken Things |

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