inspiration

The Blivet Bag Life

I guess I’m lucky. I’ve never seen the mythical blivet bag. I’ve heard about blivet bags all my life, but never have I encountered one in person. I googled for an image of a blivet bag so I could show you what one looks like, as well as find out for myself. But even Google fails to come up with any convincing likeness.

A blivet bag, as you may know, is ten pounds of shit stuffed into a five pound bag. You’d think Google would have plenty of pictures of that. But nope.

I got to thinking though that blivet bags are actually pretty common. Just not in the form of bags. Rather, they occur in the form of our lives. Imagine we have five pound lives and imagine that we sometimes try to stuff ten pounds of living into our five pound lives. That’s when we turn ourselves into blivet bags.

We sometimes try to live more life than we’re capable of living. We overwhelm ourselves with things to do. And then all kinds of bad things happen.

We get mad and lose our temper. Just like a blivet bag bursting apart. Or we get distracted and screw up. Just like an awkwardly heavy blivet bag, being fumbled and dropped. And we struggle to maintain control of our lives. Just like a blivet bag that constantly spills open, requiring continuous restuffing and packing.

It happened to my wife and me just recently. We discovered that we had termites. And the bugman convinced us that we would have to tent-fumigate our home. After we signed the contract we discovered all the things we had to do to prepare for the big tent.

All food and medicine had to be removed from the premises, or be double-bagged in the refrigerator. And arrangements had to be made to board our menagerie of dogs and cats. Which also meant we had to get them caught up on their shots and licenses.

And we learned that every drawer, cupboard, file cabinet, chest, trunk, safe, and any other enclosed piece of furniture or fixture had to be left unlocked and open.

A crew of strangers would enter our opened up house and do whatever the hell they wanted, while we would be shut out and unable to monitor their actions.

So to counter this security nightmare, we went through the entire house searching for and collecting any and all valuables, embarrassing stuff, and paperwork with social security numbers and other identifying or sensitive information. This was stored in a separate, locked building on our property, that wasn’t being fumigated.

This took a lot of time. Our blivet bag was running over. We were really stressing.

Finally we decided, to hell with it, and left town for a few days on a mini-vacation, while the house was filled with poisonous gas. We took our minds off of what was happening to our home sweet home. We did our best to empty our blivet bag and relax.

This house has turned into a blivet bag.

Thankfully the house was still standing when we returned. And after a few days we put everything back in its place, minus some junk we decided to jettison. The dogs and cats survived. The valuables are once again secured. And, knock on wood, the termites appear to be dead.

But most importantly, we successfully deflated our blivet bag lives.

Sometimes when my blivet bag life runneth over, I try something I call Slow-Down Meditation. In fact I tried it a few days before the tent went up. I forced myself to do everything very slowly. I could only keep this up for about an hour, but it had lasting effects. It relaxed me. It helped me be more reflective. And it inspired me to clear some of the clutter out of my life and simplify.

We don’t have to meditate. There are many other ways to deflate our shit-packed lives. But the first step is to learn how to recognize a blivet bag when we see one. Google won’t help, but honest self-reflection may reveal just how anxious and overwhelmed we feel. That’s our clue that our life may have turned into a blivet bag.

I advise that as soon as you recognize your blivet bag, take immediate steps to unpack it. Unless there’s a true emergency or crisis happening right now, you don’t need to be doing a million things at once. I advise that you unpack, deflate, and relax. Make your life a pleasure to live, rather than a nonstop race to an ever-receding finish.

I wish your life to always be full. But by that I mean, may it only be five pounds full. For that is the most enjoyable way to live a five pound life.

Categories: inspiration

23 replies »

  1. This is excellent. Never heard of a blivet bag but I have lived that life just the same. I used to call it living in Crazytown (and somehow I had become the Mayor when I lived there). Never going back to that. Nope. No sirree.

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  2. Tenting for Termites sounds like an experience designed to ensure that we appreciate our mundane day to day 5 lb. lives!

    Glad you survived to tell the tale . . . and that the termites did NOT.

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    • Thanks. The crazy thing is, yesterday little piles of sawdust appeared by the old termite colonies. We thought, oh shit, the termites are still alive! But on closer examination it appears that ants got into the termite tunnels and are pulling the termite poop out, in order to have a colony of their own. So now we have to deal with the ants.

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  3. Thanks for your intro to the blivet bag, very enlightening to have the actual words to describe what my life was like before retirement (and even now sometimes, when the blivets hit the fan). Many people push to “do it all” and wind up so exhausted that they don’t enjoy any of it. Not sure how the termite tent fits into that… 🙂

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    • The termite tent kind of looks like I imagine a blivet bag would look like. And during the termite crisis our lives got pretty hectic. Now, thank goodness, things have calmed down. So take that as a warning. Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you won’t sometimes have a million irons in the fire. Blivet bags can sneak up on you like that.

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  4. I too had never heard of a billet bag, but if it’s full of unnecessary shit, I clearly don’t want it. Five lbs of shit would be more than enough, thank you very much.

    Hoping your termite woes are at an end. This sounds like a nightmare experience to do once let alone have to repeat at any time 😳

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    • Yes it has been a nightmare. And it’s not quite over. Now we have contractors replacing the damaged wood in our back patio. So the drain on our dollars continues. I sure hope those termites enjoyed the taste of our house.

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        • There is. The termites were mainly eating the sill boards (boards in direct contact with our concrete foundation). Ordinarily, these boards are special wood that has been pressure-treated with insecticide. But the jacklegs who added this patio on, many years ago, did not use those kind of boards. So we had our contractor replace the termite-infested sill boards with the proper, pre-treated boards. Hopefully that will prevent future invasions.

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  5. I’ve never heard of this bag but I’d like to empty mine. Trying to sell this house is driving me crazy. We keep having agents stand us up or their clients cancelling after I put in hours of work to get the house ready to show it’s crazy. Our real estate agent seems to be pretty useless. She’s not brought on client of her own through. Argh.

    Wow you guys had a lot of work to do in order to rid your home of the invasion! Such a bummer after just finishing up reno’s. I know with showing the house it feels like such an invasion of privacy. I’m constantly having to put certain things away I would normally leave out and then pull them out again.

    Yesterday it was 30 degrees here. I spent three hours cleaning and staging the house. We had to be out for an hour at dinner time. We had to take the dog with us, and the only thing we could do was sit in our truck with it running and the air on. The people never showed up. I was really angry. The agent could have at least called and said they wern’t coming. The next day the excuse was that her client got bit by a bug and had a reaction so they didn’t look at anymore houses. Umm..she could have called to tell us.

    Did you at least have a good getaway?

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    • You must feel pretty disappointed at not getting many bites. Hate to say it, but maybe you’ve overpriced. It’s so hard to predict what people are willing to pay.

      We were going to wait until next year to renovate our back patio. But we decided we wanted rid of the termite infested wood, so a new colony wouldn’t set up housekeeping. So we just had our contractor renovate the back patio. It’s looking pretty nice now. Before the reno, it was a ratty looking patio.

      We went to Laughlin, which is a little gambling town in Nevada. My wife didn’t lose much, and I lost nothing because I don’t gamble. So yes, it was a good getaway, thank you.

      I hope your house-selling woes end soon, and you find some way to get the hell out of N. Alberta.

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      • It is a bummer. We may be but can’t come down on the price so we may be riding out another winter here yet. Sigh.

        Oh wow! Will there be pics of said new patio?? Nosy..Ahem I mean inquiring minds need to know.

        Sounds like a fun getaway. Hell walking out on the streets these days is a gamble so in a sense, you gambled. And you won.

        I hope our house selling soap opera ends soon too. Our contract with the agent ends the end of Sept. If your house hasn’t sold before then, we’re taking down the sign and riding out “cough cough” another winter here. Then come spring we’ll probably be looking for a new agent. We’ll interview some in the meantime.

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