We talk about the mantra of The Straw that Breaks the Camel’s Back, but we rarely mention the inverse, and I think it’s important.
I know it’s very easy for us all to look at our massive stack of problems and get overwhelmed. We worry about when we’ll get a job we like, how we want our body to look, our five to ten year plan, etc. But also we have everyday stuff: Dealing with that pile of laundry, dental hygiene, getting enough sleep. Society fills us with a myriad of stresses, and tells us to wear them with a badge of honour. If you’re working too hard, you’re doing it right. Burnout culture. But burnout culture doesn’t really give us much time to sort out all the stuff that’s holding us down. We hear that Straw that Breaks the Camel’s Back concept, and we’re like “yeah, I’m doing a careful balancing act, and I’m so close to crashing, but if can just hold on I might pull through.”
But maybe if a straw is going to break a camel’s back, you’d do well to take better care of your camel. How is stuff stacked on your camel? By the sounds of your packing style it’s a little haphazard. Why not slowly work into finding a better method? If you’re running on such tight margins that a straw is a gamebreaker, that’s a problem with a solution: Take less, do more trips. Is there anything smaller that you can take care of, so you have a camel that’s fighting fit for multiple journeys? Start with the tiny things on top. You can even put things aside and save them for later trips. It’s a longer journey overall, but an easier journey each time. I suck at metaphors, but that’s a bigger problem. I’m setting that aside for a later trip.
Maybe it’s worth taking inventory of what stuff is worth holding onto, and what you can let go of. Are you stressing about something that’s not as big a deal as you think it is? Question what you’d have to do in order to solve that thing. If it’s too much, you can put it aside. If you think you can take care of it, try taking care of it. If you try and you’re not quite there, that’s fine, come back to it another day. There are a ton of problems we don’t realise are quite as easy to take care of as they are.
I love two minute problems. If I think I can do something in two minutes, I usually do it then and there. Then it’s no longer a problem I need to solve. Also the more I do the simple stuff, the easier things get in general. If I’ve cleared up all the two minute problems I can think of, it gives me room to breathe. It gives me more perspective on what there is left to do. If I stack the dishes, they’re easier to do. If I do the dishes, I can wipe down the sink. If the sink is wiped down, it’s way easier to maintain. Eventually you’ve got a decently clean kitchen on the regular, and you don’t have to unnecessarily shit on yourself for being bad at taking care of your kitchen. Sometimes I learn things doing two minute problems that come in handy down the road for bigger problems. If my brain isn’t occupied with all the tiny things, I can start to think about the bigger stuff without getting distracted all the time.
No, it’s not an easy or quick process, but I sure as hell don’t want to break a camel’s back. Why be shitty to a camel?