Green River Star -

By Lu Sweet
Western Wyoming Community College 

Lifelong Learning: The control panel of life


November 15, 2017

I have eight people in my household, so of course I was doing laundry the other day. Most of the time it feels like I do laundry every day.

Don’t ask me why, but the other day I actually took a look at the control panel on the washer for a minute. I think I was just standing there, kind of zoning out nonetheless, I looked at the control panel, and saw several words that got me thinking. As weird as this sounds, I realized in that moment, that my machine’s control panel is very similar to my own life control panel. Let me explain.

The first control on my machine is “load size.” I have this same concept in my life. Many days, my load seems rather large, while other days it’s a relatively normal load. I’m sure you can relate. We know we can’t overfill our machines or we end up with problems. With my wash, if I overfill the load, the clothes won’t get clean or the water won’t drain properly. If my load is heavy, for instance, when I wash a heavy blanket, my machine can become unbalanced. The same is true of my life. If I take on too big of a load, things don’t come out right or things fall out of balance and I don’t like falling out of balance.

The next button on my washing machine is “temperature.”

Some days, I feel cold and cranky, others warm and fuzzy and sometimes hot and bothered. The next button on my machine is where I have to select the types of things I am dealing with.

My machine wants to know if my laundry is full of casual items, delicate or normal items. With laundry, you push a button and the machine takes care of this. In life, I am faced with delicate situations as well as casual interaction. Most of the time my hope is that I can deal with normal situations and carry a normal load, whatever that actually means.

Some of the other components to my washing machine control panel include “cycle complete,” “lid locked,” “pause” and “spin.”

I guess “cycle complete” can mean that at times I actually complete a project and I can cross it off my list. But usually, as soon as a load is done washing, I need to switch it to the dryer and start on another load or project. “Lid locked” is one I should pay more attention to in my life. There are many times when I forget to lock my lid (zip my lip) and just be a better listener.

“Pause” is a favorite control of mine, and one I definitely under utilize. I think we all do. We are all super busy with work, children, chores, hobbies, expectations, and more. When washing clothes, sometimes I need to pause my load, maybe to add a last minute item, then restart the cycle. In life, there may be times when a pause is needed - I need to stop things for a minute, then restart them.

There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I try to remind myself of this “feature” in my life, when things are crazy and hectic, so I can double-check that I’m not missing anything.

“Spin” is a great cycle in laundry. It’s usually where the laundry gets rid of extra water before finishing the cycle. In life, whether at work or at home, there are times when things are “spinning” – I am busy and going 100 miles per hour.

It’s all good, just have to remember that the pause button is there if needed.

Another cool thing about laundry and life is that there are others who can and should help.

At our home, everybody helps fold and put away so it actually becomes quality time for us and not as much of a chore. It’s how you choose to look at it. For instance, those lonely mismatched socks aren’t a problem because we don’t look at them as problems.

We just toss them into the basket of lonely socks and many times, we grab two from there to make a loving pair. We don’t care what they look like as long as they keep our feet warm.


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2017