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Drastic Life Changes

It’s January 1st. You’ve been on a two-week holiday bender of eating, drinking, lack of exercise and not enough sleep. You wake up on New Year’s Day feeling bloated, sluggish and old. You decide in your own mind, “That’s it! It’s time for a drastic change! No more gluten, no more dairy, no more sugar, no more wine. Instead? More vegetables, more exercise, more sleep, more positive thinking!”

It’s Friday morning. Your boss has scheduled a meeting with the sales team to go over last quarter’s figures. He starts the meeting yelling and ends the meeting yelling. You walk back to your cubicle feeling humiliated and depressed. You decide in your own mind, “That’s it! It’s time for a drastic change! I’m going to look for another job. I’m going to follow up with the head hunter that contacted me last month!”

There are times in every person’s life when the time seems right to make a drastic life change. That time came for me last week. The change, I will admit, was inspired by a friend. My best friend is a retired firefighter. If you know anything about firefighters, you know they bring heightened meaning to the phrase ‘anal retentive.’ They wash and polish firetrucks and their own personal vehicles with manic intensity and regularity; their equipment is always clean, well-organized and ready for action; their kitchens could pass the harshest inspection from any health department. Their beds are made, their clothes are folded and even their lunch buckets are neatly packed.

My friend and his wife visited us a few months ago. We travel together quite often, and I’ve always been amazed at how much clothing and gear he can pack in a small suitcase. His clothes folding techniques are nothing short of revolutionary. His shirts are meticulously buttoned and squared. His pants and unmentionables are rolled and secured in place with rubber bands. His shaving kit is expertly arranged.

One afternoon while they were here, I grabbed a load of beach towels out of the dryer and laid them on the kitchen counter. He picked one up and started folding it. He folded it once down, once across and once down again. The towel was in an exact square, all corners perfectly matched – an aesthetically pleasing shape.

At that point I made the decision to make a drastic life change. I decided that I was going to change my towel folding technique! I have always utilized the tri-fold method where I fold down the length of the towel, fold down again and then fold across into thirds. It’s a decent method for towel folding, but it can lead to some crooked corners and lumpiness.

After they left, I practiced my new folding method a couple times and then went through our entire place, took out every tri-folded towel and refolded each of them using the square-fold method. I was pleased with myself as I placed the towels back on their shelves.

February 1st rolls around. You’ve only been to the gym three times since New Year’s Day. You had three glasses of wine with dinner last night, which consisted of an entire sausage and pepperoni pizza. You stayed up ‘til 1:00 a.m. binge watching 'Outlander.'

Friday morning rolls around three weeks later. Your boss has scheduled another meeting with the sales team. You slowly walk to the conference room with your head down, fully expecting to be lambasted once again.

Last night my wife called to me from the bathroom. “Honey, did you refold all the towels in a different way? They don’t fit on the shelves anymore! Can you please put them back the way they were?”

So much for drastic life changes.

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Liz Nitardy
Liz Nitardy
Feb 21, 2020

O, boy! Deflat-o. I learned at about age 40 that any drastic change I tried to make for the better had a lifespan of a maximum two weeks. I now inwardly refer to them as 'the next idea.' Has a better connotation. And, O boy, I've had a few 'next ideas' over the past year. Do you think we're related?

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