Fitness at 40+
“Marie Kondo” Your Friendships and Make Room for Joy
Our badass writer spring cleans those biatches and takers right out of her life
Marie Kondo and the art of tidying up has reached so deeply into the zeitgeist that people now use her proper name as a verb. As in, “Oh man, my car is a mess. I need to Kondo it.” Her name has become a synonym for cleaning. Marie Kondo would hate that. Mostly because the method is actually called the KonMari. It is not a verb, but a noun that describes a lifestyle of order.
The focus of KonMari is not to just divest yourself of objects but to consciously choose the important ones to love and keep.
Kondo-ing, or really KonMari, has entered my life in a novel way. I am using the method not just to organize up my home but to right-size my friendships. I hold each one of them in my hands — okay, okay, my mind — and see if they spark joy. Do I cherish this relationship? Does it bring me joy?
What I realize is that for years I’ve been holding onto old relationships like old pairs of jeans that no longer fit, just because they were acquired when my family was young or where I worked. Many of these friendships have lasted way longer than they should have, outliving their original usefulness, joy, and inspiration.
There is the woman who, I realize now, uses our lunchtime conversations as a combat sport with every response coming from “Annie Get Your Gun”:
Her: Anything you can do I can do better
I can do anything better than you
Me: No, you can’t
Her: Yes, I caaaaan!
Another friend calls to check in, but quickly downloads the contents of her breakfast and her brother-in-law’s medical issues. As she walks into a store she says, “I am walking into the dry cleaner, so, is anything else new with you?” ELSE? I haven’t had a chance to speak. While I’m happy to feel her pain and share her joy, and even tolerate her quirks, I realize I’m no longer interested in her lack of sincere interest in me.
Finally, there is the friend who asks me to pony up my time to prove my worthiness. Will I walk her dog? Pick up her children? Will I wait for her deliveries? She is never around. As long as I am “doing” for her we were copacetic. I believe that is called an assistant.
The KonMari method is meant to be a mindset of order that facilitates other good decisions. You are not supposed to feel anger or reproach. And I don’t. I simply feel that if I don’t unburden myself from the weight of these friendships that no longer provide connection or inspiration, I may not have the time to dedicate to the ones that do.
And so I have set those old friends free in the universe so that they are available to spark joy and utility — for others.
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