“You know none of this matters, right?”

In the middle of a house move (and a state move, too), my weeks have recently dissolved into a frenetic, painfully long to-do list, each item somehow seeming to represent thousands of dollars more (or not) on our asking price. During a recent visit to The Home Depot as a result of my inaccurate measuring of the carpet piece (idiot!) with which we needed to recarpet our tiny living room and 16292996while the carpet installer waited back at the house twiddling his thumbs, I had a brief conversation with the guy who cut the new carpet piece, wrapped it and scooted it out the door to be loaded atop my Highlander. He was my age (so a Boomer), and had his hair caught in a long ponytail down his back. I hesitate to tell you that in case you decide to discount what he said to me as a result of it but maybe only aging boomers working at the Home Depot really have the  time to parcel out life advice and wisdom. In any case, as I stood in the wide aisle tapping my foot and looking at my to-do list and then up and down the rows of carpeting and rugs, clearly distracted and unhappy with my day, he pushed the rolled carpet on its go-cart towards me and said, “You know none of this matters, right?”
I must have appeared as the poster child for stressed-out, micro-managing control freaks. And when he told me that, so relaxed and friendly and seemingly at peace with his world of minimum wage and dealing with clueless customers all day, my shoulders just sagged in my jacket. Because I knew that. I knew that you shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. And unless it’s your health, it’s all small stuff.
            I knew that.
And when The Home Depot guy reminded me, I remembered to relax. I remembered that even if the installer guy charged me more for the wait and even if the extra carpet dinged me another two hundred bucks, what was the point of stressing over it? Since my time machine is on the fritz, it is what it is.
And the house will sell for what it does. After all the work and the careful timing, it will sell for what it sells for. And all my pessimism about the real estate market and how it’s not what it was when we bought eight years ago won’t change a thing.
Meanwhile, nobody’s in the hospital and nobody’s undergoing chemo. My 89-year old Mom is happy and healthy and living on her own. My boy is loving his first year at the University of Florida. My husband and I are healthy (and he didn’t careen down the front steps like I thought he was going to carrying that bookcase this morning), the stepkids seem happy, our siblings are all doing great.
            So what the hell??
81356358         Yeah, none of it matters. I know that. But sometimes it’s good to be reminded. As I drove back to the house, I took a moment to hit a Starbucks on the way for a latté. Because honestly, in the great scheme of things, is ten more minutes going to make the house sell better or faster? Is ten more minutes going to make the carpet guy throw down his nails and hammers and storm off?
I got the thing that matters. For now. At least for now.
And that’s all that matters.

10 thoughts on ““You know none of this matters, right?”

  1. That’s right, and I also had to remind myself. In January I moved to a different state and it is huge to do. My best to you because I’m still settling the dust, but it is settling and so will yours. Also, reminders like you had with the Home Depot guy are great. I love them every time.

  2. It’s not that “NONE of this matters”, it’s that “ALL of this matters” everything from the smallest to the largest event, person, misstep, remark, landslide or snow flake. They all matter and as the saying goes, “You see what you want to see”. Do we dread the darkness or celebrate the coming of the dawn, they are both real events, one allows the other to exist. our lives are measured in darkness and light, sadness and smiles, tedium and dances in meadows. It’s a waste of time sorting the good from the not so good, anymore than you can eliminate just one color from the rainbow, It’s not the years or even the mileage that illuminate our being, it’s how deep we’ve waded in the cool streams of our lives. Take big Bites, leave footprints.

  3. Everything matters in the moment. Later it doesn’t. Possibly because we solved the problem and it fades into memory. Possibly because we didn’t! But there’s nothing more stressful than moving house, and it makes things matter, I suspect, that wouldn’t otherwise. Hope all’s panning out for you & the dust settling!

    • Thanks, Matthew. It is a crazy time but I’ve set my sights on the end–which is visible. A month from today I’ll be in the new place, the new state and all of this will be a distant memory. 🙂 Thanks for the wise words of support.

  4. Most things that matter today. Won’t matter tomorrow or the next day or the day after that. Maybe. But don’t believe it. Depends on the bumps you find in your particular road, although willing to bet, that ten, twenty, fifty years from now those memories will come rushing back with new meaning in technicolor. Some will signal turning points in your life, some changes in who you are, love or opportunities lost or found, stories, lessons and antidotes told over and over. The way we were. The dreams we lived. The Trails we’ve walked. There will be a time when the days yet to come get shorter. When the memories of trails traveled will become more, not less important. Listen to your father, your grandmother, Aunt Em, ask them if
    things, especially moving, job changes, getting published, graduating from college, the day the dog died or the way it felt running barefoot on the beach. Listen to which things matter most. mostly the hard ships, driving across country in a model T, finding soap, or butter during the big war, riding a bicycle to work to save gas, things that seem to matter today, and things that fade away may change places as time passes, but willing to bet that you’ll be surprised which things matter most a few well lived years down the road.

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