Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Some things we see as problems in reality are not.

“Don’t sweat the small stuff!”

That classic line has been preached by family and friends alike. It’s virtually impossible to define small stuff. Each person has a different perspective of such. There was a time I’d get upset if I found a hole in my shirt. Generally those catastrophes occurred while welding.

My wife goes into a tizzy discovering dust on furniture. She’ll immediately look for a dusting cloth and go to town removing the filth as she calls it. Heaven help should a neighbor stop by beforehand. Dust definitely classifies as small stuff to most guys.

“Come in and sit right down. Sorry about the dust!”

The most epic case of don’t sweat the small stuff has to be spilt milk. The classic term “Don’t cry over spilt milk!” goes way back. English writer James Howell was attributed to using it in 1659. I’d bet a dollar he didn’t like milk to begin with. Grammar police would be correct in saying spilled milk, yet James liked spilt better. So do I.

I’d venture to say folks living in Ethiopian villages and Appalachian shacks have a different perspective for gauging the severity of problems. A poor Appalachia miner likely wouldn’t be disturbed if pigeons dirtied the hood of his truck.  The average Ethiopian wouldn’t curse a broken shoestring if they even owned one. I know a man that’d find both worthy of crusty language.

I’ve tried to mentally place myself in the shoes of impoverished people. Going to bed at night wondering if there’d be food the next day is beyond my comprehension. I think of an instance when I dined at a favorite restaurant finding salad portions had shrunk. That ticked me off. It’s unlikely an Ethiopian villager or hungry Appalachian ever incurs that horrible dilemma.

It would be tough living in Appalachia or Ethiopia, and see sick and hungry children with no means to help them. For the majority of Americans excellent health care is available. Yes, there are some impoverished Americans in rural Kentucky and other locales without medical assistance. Ethiopian natives rely on doctors to visit their villages. Medical clinics are far and few between. That’s generally not the case for us.

Years ago I had a tiny roof leak. The drip-drip-drip drove me nuts. I was beside myself trying to fix it. A dripping roof to an Ethiopian or Appalachian is likely a trifle annoyance if even that. Merely having a roof over their heads is something they’re thankful for.

Can you imagine a poor Appalachian mom worrying about chipped polish on her fingernails? How about an Ethiopian father complaining of telemarketers waking him? I’m sure such dilemmas don’t exist in their world. For some people In America these things are considered significant problems.

I could go on and on with outlandish examples. It’s fair to say some things we see as problems are nothing more than mere annoyances. We make them bigger than they really are. Most if not all are nothing to lose sleep over.

Before closing I’ll to revert back to James Howell’s statement regarding spilt milk. Mr. Howell says not to cry over it. Evidently he was referring to people with sufficient means in purchasing the liquid.

I’d like to see him tell that to a poor Ethiopian or Appalachian mother. Spilt milk to them would not be small stuff. It’d be something worthy of tears!

Poverty struck Appalachian family.

Author: michaeldexterhankins

ordinary average guy

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