Today I created a big effing mess.
We’re in Indiana on the last leg of our monthlong workcation. After dropping off my wife and son at the senior care home for her parents, I drove over to a gas station for some diesel fuel for the van and ice for the cooler.
While angling the cooler to drain the water in it, everything shifted. The veggie tray with dip burst out of its container spewing itself all over the contents in the cooler.
I reacted with the usual epithets.
Colorful as they were, they didn’t get me anywhere.
Then I picked out a gobbed-up bottle of something. Then another. The dip and cut-up veggies slimed every single thing. Drink bottles, lunch meat, cheese, peanut butter, grapes, blueberries . . . surprisingly the only unscathed item was a small bottle of mayo.
Surprising because everything looked like slathered mayo except the mayo.
Fifteen minutes into the cleanup I realized: This is an opportunity to purge.
Here we were, 3.5 weeks into our monthlong jaunt and the cooler contents hadn’t been thoroughly cleaned.
So item by item I wiped each one clean, set it aside and dove back in for another. Till the only thing remaining was gooey, sloshy, viscous ooze clinging to the insides of the cooler.
Dozens of paper towels later, it was all cleaned up. Purged of the unnecessary, organized better than since we’d set off. Lickety spickety clean too.
Every crisis is an invitation to purge. It’s an opportunity to reorient. To pare back. To simplify. And finally, to reinvent.
When cancer struck my wife, it was an invitation to healthier living.
When the crash nearly took our business asunder, it was an opportunity to rethink our business model.
Yes, these situations were under extreme duress, but the purge and reorganization that followed set us onto better paths. With better outcomes.