I got a “D” in college physics and, to this day, have no idea what Einstein meant when he proclaimed that E = mc squared.  But I totally get entropy…. Yeah, the physical phenomenon that life unravels over time….

I’m reminded of a weekend years ago when I offered a son-in-law a workbench for his garage.  He surprised me when he turned me down and said, “It’ll just gather clutter….”  But now, I get it.  A flat surface will always accumulate “stuff,” and a garden hose (especially one used by my wife) will always remain uncoiled. Why is that?

My theory is that it’s often too much trouble or that we’re in too much of a hurry to put things away after using them. And, of course, if you’re going to use that garden hose tomorrow anyway, why bother coiling it up?  Yeah, entropy….  The word is defined as a “lack of order or predictability, or a gradual decline into disorder.”  And so, a flat surface will, in time, become overwhelmed by “stuff.”

If we apply the concept of entropy to our daily lives, it seems to me that some level of organization is necessary to avoid experiencing various degrees of decline.  Upon retirement from my busy dental practice in 2012, however, I attempted to “schedule” my newly found free time only to discover that it was unnecessary and unrealistic.  You see, each day brought its own assortment of opportunities, challenges, and events.  Sure, you can designate a day each week to grocery shop or run errands in town, or meet a friend each month for lunch, but embracing that which is unplanned and unexpected adds variety and joy to life.

Even though I dread the thought of experiencing a “gradual decline into disorder,” it’s my belief that being true to oneself is important.  So, if failing to put things away (or closing a cabinet door after opening it) is part of who you are, that’s okay.  And if blowing every pine needle off your driveway each day is important to you, that’s okay too.  What’s important, I think, is to accept ourselves for who we are, and, if that leads to more entropy in life, so be it.

May you live and enjoy your life this new year in the state of organization or disorganization that is suitable to, and appropriate for you.


Mountaintop Moments(3) resized“Organization in the end requires fighting through the chaos in the beginning.
Erin Lovelace

Dr. Kerr

Author Dr. Kerr

More posts by Dr. Kerr

Leave a Reply