Keep Calm and Don’t Recycle Your Socks

There is a tiny piece of blue paper taped to the top of my laptop screen. On it is written one word:

(For those of you who are now confused, it says slow, not 5/ow.)

At the beginning of 2022, my mom, sister, and I began a new challenge. At the start of each month, we each pick a word from a list of about 300 choices, and we focus on it for the duration of the month.

For June, I chose the word “slow.” This was due to an incident in late-May when I found my socks in the recycling bin. While I could’ve blamed this on multitasking-gone-wrong, there’s a far bigger issue at play. The reason I tried to recycle my socks is that I have developed a complete inability to focus on anything.

I have a pretty good idea what caused this fun new character trait: 2+ years of being in mental and emotional overdrive. My mind is continually racing, hopping spastically through a hundred different thoughts and scenarios with no attention paid to what I’m doing at the present moment.

So for this month, I chose slow – as in SLOW DOWN, KELLY! DON’T RECYCLE YOUR SOCKS! – then wrote it down and taped it to my computer so I wouldn’t forget it immediately. Throughout each day, I remind myself of this word on a continual loop. Basically, I’ve brought the “Breathe in – I know that I am breathing in…Breathe out – I know that I am breathing out” meditation into every aspect of day-to-day life, which manifests as a ridiculous, ongoing inner dialogue. I am pouring a glass of orange juice. I am brushing my teeth. I am getting into my car. I am putting on my seatbelt. I am sending a text message. I am folding towels. And on and on.

Realistically, it’ll take longer than a month before I’ll trust myself to recognize the difference between a hamper and a recycling bin. That little blue paper might stay stuck to my laptop indefinitely. And if things get worse instead of better, I may have to stick little blue notes all over the house.

This is the oven. Do not put socks here.

This is the record player. No socks allowed.

This is the dresser – a perfect place for socks! 💙

If holding onto my socks (and sanity) means my world is awash in blue notes, so be it. As life marches on, we all need contingency plans.