At the risk of sounding petty, I’m going to share this with you on the encouragement of a friend who keeps prodding me to do so. My thought is who would want to read this, but here we go anyways. Please comment below and let me know what you think. Do you get caught in moments like this?
Patterns are funny. This is one that used to play out over and over. Many times, often many times in the same day, I’ll find myself in a restroom where the busy person before me has used the last piece of toilet paper and has not replaced the roll. Or, will open the new roll and just set it on top.
My strategy in this scenario of the nearly empty roll is to put on a new one and set the nearly empty roll on top. I’m not sure where I came up with this, it might be the older sister role. Maybe it’s a business owner thing, or a mom thing. I find myself doing it in odd places, not just home. It’s not like this is “the solution” to good manners in all issues toilet paper related, but for whatever reason I am compelled to keep the roll plentiful for the next user, and it felt good to make it nice for someone else.
If this was where I left it, that would have been fine, and for years it lived in the happy bubble of TP service. And then, one day, it turned.
For the past few weeks or so, every time I encountered an empty roll, I would feel resentful. Seriously! (giggle if you have to, this is a true illustration of how the silliest things can steal peace of mind).
Then it got ridiculous. Like 5 empty rolls in a day in nearly every restroom I visited over the course of the day! This was when I realized I was getting support in breaking a bulls*#% pattern that I had created in my mind that was taking my peace of mind. Because life is too short to have peace taken by toilet paper.
To push and pull on this pattern to see what it was made of, I tried a few things:
Ignoring it and just using the new roll unattached to the dispenser. This made me feel silly and petty, so no good ignoring it.
At home, I took the very “noble” approach of attaching tp rolls backwards (ahem, yes, passive aggressive). There is a very important TP tradition at home that requires that the paper dispense from the top, and I had noted that if I attached the paper dispensing from the bottom, that it would get switched to dispense from the top. But it would not be freely put onto the holder when empty. Interesting, huh? This one still makes me scratch my head.
One day not too long ago at a retreat I realized that I was breaking the seal on a brand new roll of toilet paper and I wasn’t noticing. I wasn’t seeing what it meant. I realized I had done the same thing the day before broken the seal on a brand-new roll.
And I had and epiphany. Yes, a toilet paper epiphany.
You know what I realized, dear reader, is that once locked in to seeing the world through a lens of looking for the “bad” is that I usually don’t notice when nice and courteous things happen. I was completely missing the experience of somebody replacing the roll. More than once.
It has taken me some time to assimilate this one. It’s simple. It’s slightly humbling as it’s not holy, sacred or deep; it’s Toilet paper, for Pete’s sake. And it has changed my pattern and challenged me to look a little deeper when I am feeling agitated and snarky to what is causing me to lose my peace.
Gratitude is. And it can be all around. Do you have a simple “issue”? One that nags at you or takes your peace? In hindsight, I think back to the days of that low level irritation digging at me, and feel a bit sad that I lost part of my precious living moments on something so silly- like toilet paper rolls.
And, I’m grateful for the moments I’ve freed up in my future to live unencumbered by this particular resentment.