Resentment: The Greatest Energy Waster in Your 20s

Laundry

Kimi and I live in an apartment complex. There are about 50 apartments. There are 4 washers and 4 dryers that everyone shares.

Here’s the thing. The washers? Fine. The dryers? Not fine. There are 2 dryers that are the equivalent of a runner on his 25th mile of his marathon. They’re sweaty. Dirty. Nearly dead. In fact, someone ever scratched directions on these two obsolete machines. “Don’t use this one, use that one” it reads, with an arrow point down. The other dryer simply reads “The Sad One.”

And it’s true. They are sad, broken machines. Someone stick a fork in ’em – they’re done.

I learned this about a year ago. I always use the good dryers, obviously. If someone else is using them, I wait until they’re open, because using The Sad One is a waste of 4 quarters.

Last night was laundry night. One of the good dryers was open. The other wasn’t. This person’s clothes were done, the dryer was off, their clothes were dry, and they were just sitting there.

Fine, whatever. I’ll come back in 20 minutes.

I come back. Clothes are still there.

Augh. It’s like, 8:30pm, dryer takes an hour. I’d like to get to bed at a reasonable hour. I’ll come back in 10 minutes.

I come back.

Clothes are still there.

OK, I did it, OK? I shoved this person’s clothes into the other dryer. No big deal. It was mostly towels anyways, I was really careful and gentle and nice. I shove my clothes in the dryer. I go back to my dinner.

An hour goes by. Honestly, I feel a little antsy – I’ve never done that before. Is there some big tattooed biker dude waiting for me in nothing but his last clean pair of underpants, a bathrobe, and a crowbar? Or maybe it’s that mean old lady that lives downstairs who always stares at me like she’s trying to get me to explode by locking my eyes with her perpetual death-glance-of-darkness.

Well, I come downstairs. My first load is done. My second load?

I need to lay this out carefully. Here’s what must’ve happened: if you open a dryer when it’s on, it stops. You can start it again by closing the door and pressing the button again.

Well, the door was ajar. And my clothes were dripping.

Once it clicked, I felt my arms impulsively flex, and hands get tense.

They purposely stopped my load of laundry. They opened my dryer, saw that I had switched clothes, and left my dryer off in retaliation. 

The humanity! The injustice! Justice must be served. I’m usually a calm guy. I was wondering how soon I’d get to punch someone’s face. I was looking around for someone carrying a laundry basket. I wanted to find them.

Like any good wife would do, Kimi told me to calm down, go back upstairs, and get some more quarters for another run. I did. And I came back upstairs, plugged in my headphones, and cranked this blog out in 20 minutes.

Resentment.

That’s what this is. And it’s sapping my energy as I write this.

Resentment is a powerful concept – it can make the most meek and mild person into a seething, raging bear of negativity. It takes tranquility and smashes it with a sledgehammer. It takes your serenity and throws it through a place glass window off a 10 story building. And resentment is a bully. It takes your energy. Your focus. Your thoughts, feelings, actions, and self-talk all revolve around it.

It’s the biggest energy waster of your 20s (and any other period of your life). It stays with you, and if you’re not careful, you’re once easygoing, relaxed persona becomes tense, angry, and susceptible to fits of rage, anxiety, contempt, and self-absorption.

I felt all those things and more on that walk back to get more quarters.

Here’s what works for me. I know that this resentment can (and will) stay. Part of me wants it to stay. That way, I can be justified as I walk around my complex with a chip on my shoulder from now on. But that’s not what I need – I need to let this go. My energy is precious to me. I haven’t been getting much sleep, I’m juggling a full-time job and full-time grad school. I don’t get a lot of excess energy.

And I sure as hell don’t want to waste it on trying to will someone I don’t know to have a terrible, terrible day. It’s like the old saying goes – resentment is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die.

Resentment goes deep – at your boss, your partner, your parents, your friends, even yourself. It sucks. It takes too much energy. Don’t do it.

Why? Your energy is precious – don’t waste it over a stupid load of laundry. And more importantly:

You’re probably in the wrong. Just like I was.

I shouldn’t have moved that load of laundry. But I was impatient and impulsive, so I did something that I shouldn’t have done (laundry is a touchy subject, huh?).

Instead of nursing this grudge against the mystery jerk who stopped my dryer, giving me the right to stare down anyone in my complex who looks at me funny, I should let it go, be more patient. That’s where true growth happens, and sticks.

What’s a time when resentment got the best of you? How did you overcome it?

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Comments

  1. Ahhh, Paul put it best in Romans 12:19, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”” So basically, whenever I try to get even with someone, I’m telling God that I’m better than He is at repaying someone for what they’ve done to me. Let me know how that attitude works out for you in the long run.

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