Futile Frugality

You know how it is.

You have a bottle of ketchup (mustard, dish-soap, whatever) and it has some left in it. You have a brand new bottle but the Scrooge in you will not let you open the new bottle until you have squeezed every last drop out of that old bottle. You get tired of waiting and waiting while a drop or two of ketchup slides out on to your hamburger.

Thinking you are clever and frugal, you set the old bottle upside down on the counter and let the dregs settle to the top of the bottle. Your grand scheme is to pour the remaining ketchup or mustard or dish-soap into the new bottle. After all, waste not want not — right?

So, you open the new bottle and set it on the counter and turn the old bottle upside down over it. Carefully, you open the old bottle. This is where the laws of physics come into play. You see, the remaining fluid in the old bottle has settled into the neck due to gravity. Since the bottle is plastic, you squeeze a bit while holding it and removing the cap.

Poof! The ketchup left in the bottle pops like a pimple, throwing little dots of ketchup all over the counter, the wall and the floor.

Twenty minutes later, after you clean up the mess, you manage to salvage about a tablespoon of ketchup from the neck of the old bottle. The old bottle goes in the trash.
Aren’t you proud?

Sometimes life is like a nearly empty bottle of ketchup. You can hold onto something (a job, relationship, old books, memories — anything). You endow that thing with meaning that is doesn’t have, as if the thing itself were the experience it represents. You hold onto it until you create a mess.

Then you let go.

Then you are free to use the new bottle of ketchup — which will meet your needs better and without all the unneeded work the old bottle required.

Meditation on Letting Go
What am I holding onto that no longer serves me? What am I avoiding by not letting go?

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About almondhead

I am a mental health counselor in private practice. One of the focuses of my practice is helping people with fear, anxiety and their ugly stepsister, depression. I became a counselor after a long career in the technology world, so naturally, I think of the brain as an engineering problem. It can help to understand something about how the brain works. I decided to start this blog as a way to help other people learn about fear, anxiety and relationship. (All our problems are really about relationships.) You can also find me at: www.virtuallyfearless.com www.PsychologyToday.com www.theravive.com http://www.marriagefriendlytherapists.com/
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2 Responses to Futile Frugality

  1. greg says:

    There nothing like the thought of old ketchup mixed with fresh! Why bother.
    Life’s too short for saving old ketchup
    I do this with laundry/dish soap-but that’s way different!

  2. Almondhead says:

    Thanks for your comment, Greg — The exceptions you make for laundry detergent and dish soap are understandable — and I will add one more — expensive bottles of maple syrup — have a good one.

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