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Life and Laundry

By Robin L. Silverman

Everything you need to know about renewing your life and reviving your spirit you can learn from your laundry.

First, laundry does not do itself. If you try to kick it under the bed or hide it in your closet, all you get is a smelly room. If you try to avoid your problems, they start to smell, too.

Second, remember that hot water makes things shrink and fade. Warm or cool water keeps them fresh. This is true when your spouse is angry at you, too.

Many stains don't come out the first time. Sometimes they never do. So choose: wear them anyway, make up a great story about how you got the stains, or cut up the clothes and use them as rags to wash your car. This is also true with your life. When people or situations get stained, things may have to be transformed or seen in a new light if you don't want to discard them.

As you're doing laundry, listen. When the machine sounds like it's an African tribe playing the drums, your load is off-balance. If you don't stop the machine and redistribute the load, you'll end up with a huge repair bill or having to buy a new washer altogether. The same is true with your body. If you overload it without rebalancing, it'll cost you.

Always do your laundry between other tasks. Never make it your first priority, or you'll find that while you were working, your family went outside to play and you missed all the fun.

Bright clothes look great in the store, but if you don't bathe them in cool water, they'll bleed all over everything. The same is true for flashy cars, killer relationships and deals that sound too good to be true. Acquire them if you like, but keep some cold water nearby, just in case.

Yes, socks do wash out to sea. This is one of life's great mysteries, but it is true. You put them in as a pair, but they come out single. Sometimes relationships work out this way, too.

Mend rips and tears before a good machine scrubbing makes them worse. Do this, too, with broken hearts, especially those of children. Nicks are relatively easy to repair. Harsh words and punishments might make them fall apart altogether.

When you can, hang your laundry in the sunshine. Fresh air and a warm day can do wonders for just about anything, including your own spirit.

Finally, as you get older, realize that a new washing machine isn't going to make your clothes come out any cleaner. It just costs more than your old one. Ask anyone who's divorced.

In conclusion, remember that life is a lot like laundry. Just when you think you're done, you find another pair of socks or end up using your last clean towel to wipe off the dog's paws. Don't worry. The Laundromat's open seven days a week.

Copyright © 2002 by Robin L. Silverman. All Rights Reserved.

Robin L. Silverman is the author of "The Ten Gifts: Find the Personal Peace You've Always Wanted Through the Ten Gifts You've Always Had."
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