It’s Already Broken


Raise your hand if you are clumsy. Do you fall down? Break things? Knock things over? Is this a life long affliction? Then come and sit by me. I am the queen of never being able to wear white clothing and searching for paper towels because I spilled something. If I were a superhero, my superhero name would be Amazing Graceless.

Seriously, come over here and sit by me. I have a travel mug with a lid and no sharp objects nearby. You are safe. Probably.

As a frequent klutz, I have spent many years apologizing, deflecting, and shutting myself in the bathroom while chanting “Why would you do that?”.

I am learning, as I age, that the inevitability of a breakable item breaking is complete. I am also learning, as I age, I don’t care as much when something breaks. I don’t concern myself over a broken glass or a slightly dented garage wall.

Well, I’m not as concerned about my breakables. I still get stressed over breaking other people’s things.

My husband and I recently spent a weekend with friends. After dinner, they served Irish whiskey in 19th century shot glasses. I protested as I was fairly certain I could break 140 year old glasses with the power of my mind. Our host waved my fears away and said “They are already broken.”

I squinted at the glasses. “No, I am pretty sure they are intact.”

He said “No, I mean everything that can break, must break and therefore is already broken. If one of these glasses breaks, we’ll appreciate we he had it, but won’t be upset if it’s gone.”

I shook my head, “I get that, but maybe I could get a little paper cup out of the bathroom or something.”

In the end, I drank whiskey out of ancient glassware with no breakage and no spillage. I am a pro at spilling things, especially on fancy table cloths. The tablecloth was both fancy and old.

I thought about asking about the origin of the ornate, hand embroidered tablecloth, but was afraid the answer would freak me out. I decided to make up my own answer and hoped the truth was less impressive.

“Oh yes, my antique tablecloth. It’s a special shade of white that is very nearly impossible. See how the gauzy layers and layers of white give the illusion of ocean waves with just a hint of shimmer? That’s because the material was woven by wood fairies before they became extinct 1500 years ago. It’s really a one of a kind piece. There is your seat there, by the delicate rosebud embroidery. Interesting story about that embroidery. It was embroidered in the 1880s in France. A young blind woman who lived next door to Vincent Van Gogh did the work. She couldn’t see, but she was always compelled to embroider if Van Gogh painted. Very little known story there. Now, can I get you some red wine? Or perhaps some 17 layer nacho dip?”

My imaginary response:

“How about I just projectile vomit stomach bile onto your table cloth and you can watch your priceless, one of a kind, hand made by mythical creatures family heirloom get digested right before your eyes? Seriously, it will be just like The Fly. You know, Seth Brundle? No? Okay, wine would be great.”

In reality, my response would probably be a big “hell, yes” to the nachos because who doesn’t want 17 layer nachos?

20 years ago, I spent my time at parties and receptions and lunch meetings frozen in one spot to avoid the embarrassment of my inevitable stumbles.

I find a freedom in accepting the fact that I have the fine motor skills of a distracted toddler. I don’t mind asking for plastic cups or being seated as far from the heirlooms as possible.

I don’t know if this self-awareness came from the wisdom one gains through aging or if it just became to exhausting to pretend I wasn’t the destroyer of all things glassware.

I don’t want to wax too poetic about the joys of aging, because it’s not all cotton candy and unicorns, but there is freedom that comes with gray haired years.

Experiences are more valuable than things. Everything that is breakable will break. It’s okay to be who you are. Even if are clumsy.

Margie Warrell

An internationally recognized leader in human potential – Margie Warrell is passionate about empowering people to think bigger about what is possible for them, engage in braver conversations and lead more purposeful lives.

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