Friday, July 06, 2007

The small stuff - a rant

I suppose everyone has heard the expression, "Don't sweat the small stuff." right? My MIL says "That's chicken sh!t" which is the same thing with a more colorful New York accent/dialect/translation.

If I mail something first class to another state in the East & it takes far longer than it should, & I worry over it, like a soft boild egg - am I sweating the small stuff?* Is this o.k.? When has it gone too far?

I also bring this up, because I apparently married my opposite - he sweats all over the small stuff & I ignore it... 99% of the time, if it bugs him, it does not bug me & vice versa. So we are regularly in the hen house slinging the quote "That's chicken sh!t." In the begining, it was funny - because who say's that really - besides my husband's family? It isn't funny anymore... (Especially not when his mom say's it, because she has more important things to worry over than her son's needs/feelings/work schedule.)

I know someone who is in a similar situation, but she has been there for so long, that she is numb and marginalized... That is a fear for me, so I stand up for my "Chicken sh!t." (Even if I am sweating the small stuff.) I hold onto it as if it is the only thing that I have/know. I am almost comforted by it...

My job is all (I Mean ALL) about the small stuff... I am regularly redoing "text alignment" kind of small stuff... (As if how it looks is more important that what it says - I don't intuitively notice that cr@p, so I regularly get to redo.) So this job is probably not a good fit for me, but I keep at it because it keeps a roof over my head and food on the table... Since I (more or less/before or after) pay attention to the work small stuff (under duress), the home life small stuff I don't so much pay attention to...

I wonder where all of this comes from? Is it our upbringing? have I given up on worrying about the small stuff, because we (not overtly in a we are starving manner) had to worry about stuff like food when I was growing up? & now everything pales in comparison. We went to the grocery store once a month, stocked up on canned goods, my dad would purchase "X" number of items, to last "X" number of days...

The one thing that resonnated from my college experience is my standing in line at the bookstore and overhearing a girl telling her friend that the soda & candy had to be on a separare tab becasue her dad would only pay for her books. Meanwhile no one even bought me a pencil. Yes, I am still working on those feelings... It is a long process, & with my dad bringing up my (he fails to include my sister or 2 step-brothers in the equation) sneaking the food listed above... An afternoon snack for a tween/teen was not part of his purchasing matrix.

I have a GF who when she moved out of mom & dads house had all of her furniture purchased for her, condo painted, carpet replaced, bathroom decorated - no make do for her, when she had an "oops" with her budget, her dad paid the bill, her dad still covers her auto insurance/cell phone, because it is not a hardship on him & because it is easier all around to stick with the status quo... So she has a completely different level of viewing "chicken sh!t/small stuff." As in I have never seen her worry about ANYTHING.

Any sage advice out there in the blog-o-sphere? I am here to chat/listen...

*Once again, I am also putting my (thoughts/feelings/actions/reactions) onto someone else... because yes, I am wondering if the receiver has it, but has been too busy to mention it. I know life gets in the way, thigs get set aside, etc.

I wish I could say that I felt better for getting that off of my chest, but...

Here's hoping for a quilty photo filled post this weekend... (I am going to the Hershey Quilt Show in a couple weeks.)

10 comments:

Judy H. said...

I'm not sure if this is the type of input you're looking for, but I can maybe give you some insight into the importance of the type of 'small stuff' you mention for work. I will notice 'text alignment,' spelling, minor grammar oopses, and think, "If they didn't make sure this stuff is done right, how can I be sure the important stuff is done right?" My local newspaper will occasionally mess up a 'flavor fact'--you know, something only included to make a story read better, but not intrinsically important--and every time, I wonder, what other facts did they not bother to check?

As for life's chicken sh!t moments, I know it can be hard to see when to stress and when to let it go. I'm with you on the money background--my mother wouldn't let me drink milk between meals because it was more expensive than juice or tapwater--and it can be rough to see that other people have such a different view of what's small stuff and what's not. I try to apply the "can I do anything about it?" question to anything that might just be so much chicken sh!t. Can I fix/treat it? Yes? Then I do. No? Then I try to let it go.

Maybe it's time to politely ask the recipient if your package has arrived?

Kay said...

You don't seem to have an unusual attitude towards tyhe small stuff. I think all of us are more concerned about some details than others. I disagree with Judy--I don't think that because someone misses details they probably don't consider important that they will miss details they DO consider important. Her comment about what how to handle the problems seem good to me though--if you can do anything, try, if not let it go. I believe that's the gist of something called the Serenity Prayer--forget who wrote that. Hope you feel better-- :)

debby said...

I'm working at Odyssey. Stop by the Quilt Basket/HandiQuilter booth and say hi --- I'd love to meet you in person! Let me know if you need something from Pinwheels .... I go there at least once a month.

Shelina said...

Wow, you took a big leap from missing mail to "issues." I think it is normal for the mail to be slow, and it is normal for people in today's busy society to put acknowledging receipt of something fun in the mail low on the priority list. Also normal to be angry / frustrated. Chicken stuff is still stuff! And it makes you feel like they put you in the same category of chicken stuff.
I was just thinking of that recently, when I realized that every time I said something to a particular person, they would find something to distract them - oh look there's a bird! - even though I listen for hours to him/her talking.

As for different people getting handouts from their parents, I understand that too. I always paid the rent and didn't ask for money. I have friends who are in their 40s who still get help from their parents. The retired Mom lives in a trailer, so said nicely employed daughter can get a new bedroom suite. I am a touch jealous, but I think I would rather earn my own way.

atet said...

I'm possibly not the right person to ask about this -- as right now, like you, I am getting paid to pay attention to the small stuff -- what many would consider really small stuff. So it drives me batty when small stuff for that doesn't get done.

At home -- well, most of the small stuff, I just let go. But the danger point for me is when I've let it go, and let it go, until finally, that one little piece puts me over the edge. Watch out when that happens.

I think it's partially personality type -- part how we grow up (what is it that we consider small in relationship to what we have experienced makes a huge impact) -- and part how we've been taught how to deal with our problems/issues.

I have to agree with Judy -- if I can do something about it, I do (maybe while complaining at the top of my lungs -- but I do something) and if not -- try and let it go.

Jenni @ Fairybread said...

Lots of interesting takes on the issue. From my perspective I think that your ability to not sweat the small stuff shows that you are fairly relaxed and confident. I tend to worry about the small stuff, and I have learnt that this is about control - feeling safe and in control of 'something' in your life, to make up for all the bits you have trouble with. Maybe this is where your husband is coming from, especially if his mother doesn't seem to hear him.
OTOH, I don't see why you shouldn't be upset if you sent a First class package and it is taking ages to arrive - you paid your money, you should get the service. But then if it has arrived and hasn't been acknowledged, then all you can do is ask, then let it go I'm afraid.

mamaspark said...

Such a lot to think about. I would email your swap mama and ask her to ask your partner if the quilt has arrived. I had to do that, but now, after I know it is there, my partner couldn't have been more appreciative. You never know what is happening in someone elses life that may take away from the time to take the time to let you know that it has arrived.

As for small stuff in life, everyone has their own view of what is small and from what I can tell that view is continually changing and evolving depending where we are in our lives. Sometimes we are better able to "suck it up" than other times. I think it is good advice that if it is something you can do something about then do it, if not, just let it go. Sometimes, even when we are "right" it isn't worth the fight. Remember what Dr. Phil asks his people, "How's that working for you?" If it isn't then change it. One of the best things I ever learned was that I can't change others but I can change how I react to them. I hope this helps.

Mary said...

I worry about a lot of little things too but if it's something I can confront and get off my worry list I do. Rather than worrying about whether something had arrived somewhere in the mail - I'd send an email and ask.

Sharon said...

You learn what is small stuff and what isn't over your life. I, too, like to control things around me, but I've learned that just isn't possible. Doesn't make me not try, though:) Many people treat their computer life/world differently than their IRL world. I've found that when participating in the virtual world, nothing is in your control except what you say. So, if your partner hasn't acknowledged receipt, it could be: a) the package didn't arrive yet b) it arrived but her virtual world takes second place to her real world. or c) she just hasn't told you it has arrived yet. None of these means she doesn't care - she just has a diffrent priority set than you do. It's natural for you to worry, but now you need to just ask if it's arrived. That should fix it up.

Vicky said...

Growing up I used to fret and worry about the small stuff. My dad's famous saying when I was taking particularly long to make a decision or do something, "Hey, we're not building a piano here."

I find as I get older that most of the small stuff doesn't bother me any more. Until I run across something really really tiny that bugs the bejeebers out of me - for days and weeks. And it's usually something that I can't do anything about.

Make contact with your buddy and ask. I hate when we have to do that, but then it's off the plate.

A good blog. (Hugs)