FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: Backwards.


by Dave Markwell

The other day I put my underwear on backwards. This was not super-unusual. I will often, in my morning haste, put the wrong foot in the wrong leg hole. Typically, I discover this error immediately and fix it. This day, I did not. I spent the first half of my day with my boxers backwards and only discovered this mix-up when nature called and my fly hole was missing.
As I pondered how this could have happened, I recounted my morning, getting dressed with a flurry of thoughts and plans and ideas racing through my mind and somehow missed this fairly mundane, yet not insignificant feature of my comfort. Upon recognizing my oversight, I fixed it, then and there.

Upon reflection, I remember feeling a sense that something was just not right. It wasn’t a big wrong, but I know what normal feels like and this wasn’t it. I couldn’t identify the source, but I was a bit uneasy and unclear. Again, these sentiments are not uncommon, so I just kind of dealt with it. Like a regular day.

Discovering that my grundies were backwards caused me an eyebrow raise. Now, I have been dressing myself for quite some time and, minus style points, have done ok. I know which shoe belongs on which foot and that the tag goes on the inside of my shirts. I had no good explanation for this oversight, except that I got busy-minded. And this might be the problem…
Last week, I ran into an old real estate buddy and a beer-driven conversation ensued. He said, “Markwell, your problem is that you can’t get out of your own head.” The context was in reference to my former successful real estate career and the nominal dissatisfaction I felt about it. ”I need answers and fulfillment!! Damn it!!” was my near indignant response. But, he got me thinking. Jerk.

I (and probably not only me) tend to overthink. I’m not a “flow” guy. I want, very much, to be one. And I have my moments of clarity and insight and truth, but much of the time, I live uncertain. With this in mind, my underwear “situation” may have showcased the flaw in this way of being or at least spotlighted a scenario in which some parallels could be drawn.
In our haste to “get” someplace, we miss important things. These things are vital to our peace and comfort. We often sacrifice them, as a form of tithing, to appease a faulty sense that we must self-emolliate before we can simply be happy. This is wrong thinking, I recognize after remembering a long morning spent with ill-fitting underwear. The distractions of my mind overruled a pretty basic tenet of life: it’s meant to be enjoyed. Gratefully, backwards underwear and a backwards life rely only on us to remedy. We control them.

We know when things fit and when they don’t. Always. We simply need to tune in. Plenty of available distractions exist to confuse this idea. So, the challenge is listening. We know the truth. We know the path and the light. It’s clear when we choose to face the sun with our heads and hearts up. The forever question is how to achieve this ideal with intention, and maybe the forever answer is to stop asking so many questions…

A Hemingway quote from “For Whom the Bell Tolls” I copied in an old journal many years ago resonates maybe more now than ever…

“So if your life trades seventy years for seventy hours I have that value now and I am lucky enough to know it. And if there is not any such thing as a long time, nor the rest of your lives, nor from now on, but there is only now, why then now is the thing to praise and I am very happy with it.”

Well, I may not be much closer to an answer than before, but I’m scratching and digging for one. For me, it may be just a case of the search being the destination. But, I do know that a little more time spent in the actual moment we’re living is not wasted time and being “happy with it” is not wasted time, either. Good things happen here. In fact, everything happens here. And missing a single one can leave us wishing for it back, or at least regretting a long morning spent with backwards underpants…

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, whose first book is called “A Feel Good Life” (buy it on Amazon here). He also runs the Waterland Arcade, located at 22306 Marine View Drive South. Dave extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, Dave needs more friends – find him on Facebook here.


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