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Trying to Wear Too Many Pairs of Pants

Updated: Jan 11

Ok listen up, because I'm about to say something unpopular. Guess what? You CAN’T have it all. You just can’t. There simply isn’t enough time or energy in the world to accommodate all of the possibilities. I’m not saying you can’t have anything, or even that you can’t have a LOT of good things. But you can’t have everything, and you shouldn’t even try to have (or be, or do, or learn, or own) too many things at once.

Why not?? We live in a time of great opportunity, right? We have more personal freedom than ever before in history to design the lives best suited to us. We are reminded all the time that we can be who we want to be, love who we want to love, and think how we want to think. The television set is constantly bombarding us with images of the myriad of choices we have in what to buy, how to dress, what jobs to pursue, and the 1000 places we must travel to before we die. Social media gives us an inside look at the lives of everyone we know, and everyone we met once casually and never talked to again in person. We see the projects they are doing, the accomplishments of their children, the trip they just took, the wonderful meal they ate for lunch, and all the cool activities they did this past weekend. We hear about their career promotions, their fancy new car, the long nap they took, the house they just bought, and the puppy they recently adopted that looks so dang adorable. Reality programs even make us feel like we are living side by side with celebrities, are premiere chefs, or can remodel a whole house in 30 minutes. We love feeling that powerful, even though we surely know it’s mostly made up, and not really reality at all. Or do we?

Technology allows us to know about things happening in the remotest parts of the planet, and introduces us to far more information than we can possibly absorb, and yet we clamor for more. We have access, at least virtually, to pretty much everything life has to offer, but in so many ways we seem to feel less satisfied than ever before. How can this be? Shouldn’t having more opportunities laid out before us mean that we lead an even richer, fuller life? Well, in theory, yes...except that we tend to forget that even with so many options at our disposal, we do still have to choose between them. When we are exposed to such a vast array of wonderful things, we naturally want them. ALL of them. This can be a negative thing when it causes us to wallow in jealousy, self pity or feelings of being “less than” by comparison to others. It can be a positive thing as it inspires us to reach higher or further, or shows us ideas we might otherwise never have considered.

The hard truth is, though, that every time we make a choice, no matter how big or small, it necessarily eliminates many other choices, at least for that moment in time. If you decide to have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, you can’t also have every other kind of sandwich that same day. Your belly couldn’t hold it all. How silly would it be to resent not having the tuna fish or turkey, rather than simply enjoy the peanut butter you picked first?  I mean - you chose it because you liked it, right? We’ve been conditioned as a society, however,  to believe that not only CAN we have all things, but that we SHOULD have them (and even deserve to have them) all right now.  So rather than rejoice that we had the rights and abilities to choose A, we fret that we don’t also have B and C simultaneously. We try to run faster to make sure we won’t miss out on D and E, meanwhile A is often getting totally lost in the effort. In our exhaustion and discontent, we can't fully experience and embrace the good things that we do have. Even when we know we are enormously blessed, we can still feel depressed if we witness someone on Facebook basking in a different set of blessings. We are always on the lookout for something new and better. Not just “stuff” either. We do this with experiences, beliefs, jobs and even relationships. There’s no end to it.  If we somehow managed to accumulate and juggle A, B, C D AND E...there would still be F and G to reach for, even if our hands were already full.

I walked into my closet this morning, and put on my current favorite pair of pants. They are a soft, comfortable, bright orange, fun pair of jeans. I feel fantastic in them, and they fit me well. But...I also really like my yoga pants, and my gray slacks. What if I decided to wear them over the top of my jeans, so I could experience all three at once? For that matter, what if I decided to put on ALL of my pairs of pants today? I like all of them for different reasons, and don’t really want to have to choose just one. Some are a little too tight, because I have outgrown them, but I loved them once upon a time and am not ready to give them up just case I lose a few pounds...hey it could happen. Some are a little too big. Some were gifts I never would have picked for myself, but I ought to use them so I don’t hurt the giver’s feelings. Some are trendy, and I’ll wear them because it’s the fashionable thing to do, even though I may not personally think they are attractive. Some have sentimental value harkening back to another place and time in my life. I don’t really need them anymore, and should probably donate them to another person who they would work better for now. But what the heck, I’ll throw them on too. On my friend’s Instagram I saw the cutest new shorts she just bought at the mall, so I think I’ll go over and get those and put them on over the top of all of these others. And while I am there, I want to put on every pair of pants in the store just in case. You never know what the day could bring, and I want to be prepared.

This would be ridiculous, right?  I’m going to be far more comfortable just wearing the one pair of jeans I started with. I wouldn’t be able to walk or breathe if I tried to wear all the pants in the area. Why would I need to, or even want to, when my original pair is my favorite anyway? Of course I can always wear a different pair tomorrow. I get to choose whether to wear my few trusted pairs often, or go for variety and change it up daily. I also get to decide if I wear wild prints or classic styles. If I want boot cut or skinny. Wool or spandex. I could theoretically wear hundreds of different pairs of pants in my lifetime, if I am willing to pay the price for them.  No matter what though, there will be many many pairs of pants in this world that I never get to wear. That is ok. It really is. I just want to be happy and comfortable in the ones I have on today.

Dream big. Live large. Learn something new every day. I would never say otherwise. Life is short after all. Let the possibility overload be a source of joy and direction, but not of stress and worry. When your pants get dirty, don’t fit anymore or just don’t feel good for whatever reason, you can always swap them out for a different pair. But one pair at a time - or layers if that’s your thing. Just not so many that it becomes cumbersome. There is great peace to be found in being truly present in the choices of today. Really living with them, in them and through them for awhile. Counting the things that went right, and living in gratitude for the bounty we possess, whatever form that is taking in our lives at the moment. We don’t need to have it all. ALL would be way too heavy a burden to carry. So let that go, put on your favorite jeans and remember that today is a beautiful day - just as it is. 

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