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An Antidote to Sweating the Small Stuff

Toilet paper and butter. One is a necessity for most of us but I'll leave it to you to figure out which.

The little details in life can really get on your nerves if you let them. Well-rested and fed, on a day when what I set out to do is entirely possible for a mere mortal, I can fairly easily not sweat the small stuff, like running out of toilet paper and butter on a night when those two things were in fact, both necessities. I notice the times when the little stuff makes me crazy is when my life is out of balance and I have too much capacity to care about life's trivial mishaps.

And don't you just love it when you're in the midst of some silly rant about nothing of real importance, like oh, I don't know, running out of toilet paper and butter and, in an effort to make you realize how truly silly you're being, someone says  "Put it in perspective." I cheerfully unload that trite advice on my husband all the time. Pathetic, I know, but if we consider why it's so overused, we'd realize it's because it's so darned true. We often spend valuable energy fretting over things we'll likely never remember a month from now.

I do believe there is an antidote to sweating the small stuff; it's in an elixir we can formulate ourselves, (without the help of Big Pharma, thank you very much). In this elixir could be, in varying amounts, things such as love, community, service to others, challenge, spirituality, reverence and humility, hard work, passion, curiosity and joy. The more ingredients missing or in short supply, the more likely we are to have space and time to focus on all the nonsense that creates things like road rage.

The writer Evelyn Underhill once said: “After all, it is those who have a deep and real inner life who are best able to deal with the irritating details of outer life.”

To paraphrase Ms. Underhill: the more meaning we have in our lives, the less meaning we give to the inevitable and irritating details that come along with living.

Editor's note: Fairfield, Conn.-based Linda Soper-Kolton is the owner and chef of GreenGourmetToGo in Bridgeport.

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