“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” – Thomas Jefferson
Let’s talk about the space between sentences.
“But wait, isn’t this a blog about happiness?” Yes, please bear with me, I promise I will try to make an excellent connection about spaces being unimportant in the big picture of life, people are.
I clearly recall sitting in my 9th grade “business-computer applications” class: a 14-year-old eager to learn and a 50-something ready to drill typing. Sure, the 1998 version of me learned on a computer, a state of the art Compaq with Windows 95, Microsoft Word, and Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, but my fearless leader was a pro at the manual typewriter. Double spaces after each sentence thus made its first appearance in my life and haven’t let me out of their grip since then.
In fact, I had to erase each extra space at the beginning of each sentence in that paragraph. Sixteen years of habit is hard to backspace permanently.
Why am I even writing about typography? My dear boyfriend occasionally edits my draft posts. He is a staunch “one-spacer” and demanded suggested that I stop using two spaces after a period.
“No! I will not get rid of my double spaces; I made it through thirteen years of school using it, you can’t make me stop!” I then stamped my feet, crossed my arms, and pouted for about fifteen minutes. I was not going to let this writing cornerstone crumble without a fight.
I turned to Google, of course. I didn’t necessarily like what I saw.
Is it really that important?
Does having one space after a sentence or two reflect on my level of self-satisfaction? Is debating with boyfriend productive for the welfare of this blog or our relationship? Absolutely not!
What is important for a happy life?
Certainly not fixating on the small stuff. Being inflexible with your viewpoints, or even being unwilling to try to understand someone else’s position, is not conducive to a happy life. When you have alienated all of your friends with your staunch opposition to playing Scrabble, going to get a burger instead of pizza, or running four miles instead of six, you will be left all alone.
Your soul will be hungry for one more chance to say, “okay, friends, let’s be together, I don’t care what we do, let’s smile and laugh because I love you all, and I won’t even care if you have misspelled f-l-i-p-p-a-n-t.”
I would know. Sometimes I think of all the times I have been inflexible, when I have let my strong personality overwhelm my true desire for close friendship. The times I have alienated my friends. The times I have been alone.
Writing this post is not a way for me to say I have banished these actions from my life. On the contrary, it is a way for me to highlight one of my shortcomings and lay a challenge to us all. Let it go, it’s not that important. We can all swim with the style current: one space, two spaces, it doesn’t matter. Monopoly, Scrabble, it doesn’t matter.
Repeat: One Space, Two Spaces, It Doesn’t Matter
(Counter-point: Article #2- “Why two spaces after a period isn’t wrong…”)
At the end of the day, all that matters is that I have posted a moment of my life and have come to understand the important lesson of that moment. The white area between my sentences is NOT important!
Spaces are not important, people are!
By choosing to let go of the minute details, I am choosing happy. I am choosing those people who help lift me up: my friends, boyfriend, mom & dad, my sister. I choose myself, too! The people in our lives are important. Be a rock when it matters and flow with the current when it really isn’t that important to the big picture of life.
Choose your happy today! Comment below with your favorite memory of a time you could have let your version of “double spaces” get in the way of your happiness but you turned the tables on the unimportant minute details.
UPDATE: I found a new link via my Facebook friend, Dawn. Be sure to check it out! The author is a two-spacer, and she’s also a teacher… and she recently found out about the one-space rule. Her post went viral!