Loose ends are the dangling participles and unrelated pronouns of everyday life. They hang about, waiting for classification. In knitting or quilting, loose ends have to be woven into the knit sock or quilt and then trimmed. Loose ends are the difference between being finished and being completed. “I’ve knit ten pairs of socks, but still have to weave in the ends.” vs. “I’ve completed ten pairs of socks, already to be wrapped!” And we all know the potential disaster of pulling on a loose thread – if we are lucky, only the hem falls; if unlucky we can create an avalanche.
These loose ends fly around us like pesky flies. We return to conversations and think of rebuffs (too late) or great ideas (also, too late). Just after the moment of hitting send, an anecdote you should have included in the e-mail dangles before you; you seal the envelope, and a bit of news you should have shared gets spotted in your peripheral vision; and after pressing the publish button a great insight pops up in front of you. Gather up the loose ends, trim them and let them go.
Recipes get clipped, a magazine article needs closer attention, this small little do-dad may come in handy some day. Will it ever? There are two scenarios to play out in that case a) you forget you have the handy little so-and-so or b) you remember keeping it for just such an occasion, but can’t find it. Piles grow, storage containers get purchased, cupboards get filled and the space under the bed collects more than just dust-bunnies. Suddenly, all these loose ends have joined into a large mass of overwhelming stuff you need to deal with. Weave in only the essential threads, let the rest be trimmed. Be honest, if you haven’t touched it in…you can’t remember when…are you going to ever use it?
Sentimentality is a very dangerous loose end. One keeps tugging on the thread, undoing, unpicking, unraveling. Those threads get gathered up in a ball (they might come in handy) and put away again. Finished, but not completed, and now possibly tangled as well. And close on the heels of sentiment are the regrets. Those words we didn’t say, conversations and actions finished, but not completed. One can pull them out, flip through them, weave in a few ends, but ultimately (if one isn’t careful) the pile becomes too overwhelming, just too many to complete.
I have been sorting this week, inspired by a call for donations on Monday. My husband and I (usually this is a solo endeavour) went through Christmas decorations, rearranged cupboards and drawers. Finished. The truck came and picked up the boxes and bags. Completed.