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Life Lessons From 14 Inanimate Objects

Roxanne Jones blogs at Boomer Haiku, a mostly light-hearted, often irreverent look at life as a baby boomer, 17 syllables at a time.

We’ve all seen ‘em: those “listicles” that impart wisdom (“All I Need to Know About Life…”) gleaned from dogs, cats, cows, the Easter bunny, toddlers and the like. Life lessons, it seems, are everywhere if you just pay attention.

So, fellow baby boomers, as a believer in the adage that we’re never to old to learn something new, I started looking around and—eureka!—I discovered even inanimate objects around the house have something to teach us. To wit:

Life Lessons from Inanimate Objects


If you’re dirty, people can catch stuff from touching you.

If you’re slippery, people can’t get a firm grasp of you.

When you won’t budge, you can’t get anyplace.

Coffee table

Unless you set them straight, some people will try to use you in inappropriate ways.

Some people will leave marks on you if you don’t protect yourself.

The more stuff you pile on, the messier things get.


When you don’t deal with things head on, you’re unlikely to get the result you want. If you get rusty, it’s harder to do even the simplest things.

If you get bent out of shape, it’s hard to fulfill your purpose.


Sometimes you have to push really hard to get what you want.

If you push too hard, however, you can break apart the object of your desire.

When you bite off more than you can chew, it makes you look piggy.


Don’t insert yourself where you don’t belong.

You don’t fit in everywhere, and that’s okay.

Even when you do fit in, sometimes things just don’t turn out the way you expected.

You know you’re in the right place when things just click.


When you’re strong, people rely on you to hold things together.

Sometimes you have to tear off pieces of yourself to do your job.

Stick-to-itiveness is an essential quality for succeeding at just about anything.

Trash can

People will fill you with all sorts of garbage if you let them (especially in an election year).

It’s important to empty yourself of crap on a regular basis.

Sometimes people throw good stuff your way without even knowing it.


You deliver the best results when someone knows how to work with you.

It shouldn’t matter what color you work with.

When you lay it on thick, it’s hard to trust you.


Sometimes we need help to remain upright.

Just a little support can make all the difference in your ability to maintain your balance or position.

You might be surprised at how much information you can hold.


If you just lie there, people will walk all over you.

Sometimes you need a good shaking (figuratively speaking) to get rid of crap you’re holding on to.

You can fray at the edges if you don’t take care of yourself.

It’s okay to let others care for you when you can’t do it yourself.


Some people see you as a fixture in their lives and take you for granted.

There’s a limit to how much shit you can take.

If people piss all over you in public, don’t assume they’ll treat you any better in private.

Artwork on wall

Don’t set yourself too high or you’ll look ridiculous.

If you’re a little off-kilter, it can drive some people crazy and they’ll be forever trying to straighten you out.

Not everyone will appreciate you, but know that you have your own unique beauty.

Balsamic vinegar

The more you age, the sweeter and more full-bodied you are.

For some people, you’re an acquired taste.

When you’re the real deal, others may try to imitate you.

And the everyday object that’s taught me more lessons than just about anything (since I use it with such regularity):


You have the ability to open up a whole new way of looking at things.

We come in various shapes, sizes and colors, but we all fundamentally work the same way.

Just because you pay more for something doesn’t necessarily mean it works any better than a less-expensive version.

When it comes to getting a job done, the simplest approach is often the best.

Just because you’re not always needed doesn’t mean you don’t have value.

The phrase “It’s all in the wrist” applies to a lot of things.

If it takes batteries to get the job done, that’s okay.

If you start thinking you’re better than anyone else, someone will likely remind you that you’re a tool.

Screw-offs will never make you obsolete.

Practice makes perfect.

I think the wisdom we can find in everyday objects comes down to a variation on the theme of “When the student is ready, the teacher appears,” inspiring this haiku:

You’d be amazed at
what thoughts can fill your mind when
you keep it open.

What about you? What life lessons—from the ridiculous to the sublime—do you think inanimate objects can impart?

Roxanne Jones

Roxanne Jones blogs at Boomer Haiku, a mostly light-hearted, often irreverent look at life as a baby boomer, 17 syllables at a time. When she’s not tapping out haikus, she’s a freelance medical copywriter, enjoys chardonnay and contemplates plastic surgery to get rid of the wattle on her neck.

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Friday 3rd of February 2017

Very clever! Who knew the key was so deep and resonates with me?


Friday 3rd of February 2017

You just never know what wisdom you can glean from "stuff!" Thanks for your comment, Haralee!

sarah raymer

Friday 3rd of February 2017

Love the cork screw......................why oh why do they have to keep invented new ones that are so involved that I just want to slam them against the wall? Stay with the old ones...........believe me........they work!


Friday 3rd of February 2017

I couldn't agree more, Sarah! Someone once gave me one of those fancy-schmancy levered things and all I could think was that it looked like a weird variation on a speculum.

Sore Mom

Friday 3rd of February 2017

That's a unique point of looking at things around us and learning from them. Interesting!


Friday 3rd of February 2017

You just never know where life lessons lie! Thanks for commenting!

Sue Loncaric

Thursday 2nd of February 2017

I think I'm Balsamic Vinegar - I love that one. I really enjoyed your post Roxanne and loved the way you creatively used ordinary words to teach us some lessons in life. I won't look at these items the same way again.


Friday 3rd of February 2017

Thanks, Sue--I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment!

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