Acting Out

One of my life goals is to own a washer and dryer. This may seem like an odd goal to suburban readers. But every city dweller knows a washer and dryer is a luxury right next to having a dishwasher, which I’m pleased to report my current apartment is equipped with. When my husband and I were living in New York City we would pack up six loads of laundry every Friday night and carry it on our backs three blocks to the laundromat like a bunch of urban Sherpas.

With many tens of thousands of dollars in student loans later, we have improved our position. Yet our apartment still does not have a washer and dryer. However, each floor of the building we live in has its own laundry room and our apartment is situated right next to the one on our floor. If you listen closely, you can even hear the washing machine vibrating through our bathroom wall. Our prime location has resulted in lax standards. My husband commonly slips down the five feet of hallway between our door and the laundry room wearing his blue whale pajamas with socks and flip-flops. I may be found wearing a t-shirt with a few holes created by the cats, yoga pants, and clogs. One of my friend’s mothers is fond of saying of the poorly dressed, “I wouldn’t clean the toilet in that.” I am most positive she wouldn’t deem either of us, in our home clothes, appropriately attired to clean the toilet.

Not too long ago my husband took off the apartment key from my set and forgot to replace it. When I returned from the laundry room, keys in hand but no apartment key, I was locked out. With my husband not home and not returning for hours I had no choice but to go down to the lobby of our 17 floor building where hundreds of people live and where the lobby is never empty to ask for the spare key. I was not pleased and it was my inclination to text my husband as soon as I got back into the apartment to make my discontent known.

What will that achieve? I asked myself. Nothing.

By the time he got home, I wasn’t irritated anymore. I told him, no doubt. But I wasn’t irritated.

Acting on an impulse may be a perfectly reasonable choice. But it’s worth asking, what will it achieve, before doing it.  We are often more likely to find fulfillment and achieve better results by delaying our actions than acting on impulse.

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