The Case of the Missing Towels

Remember my friend, Lily? She’s the one who taught me the lesson that “anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” (If you want to read that post, it’s here.) All Lily wanted was new towels.Her boyfriend has ripped, stained, faded, shredded towels. And he can afford to buy a dozen – if not two dozen – new ones.

Lily dropped hints. “Wouldn’t it be nice to step out of the shower and have a new towel to dry myself off with…?”

She sang: “I’m dreaming of a hydro-cotton bath towel…”

She complained to me: “I bought him a beautiful watch and all I wanted was a couple of lousy towels…”

How often do we expect other people to take care of us? We think we’ve made a deal: I’ll take care of them so they’ll take care of us. We think that if we anticipate someone else’s needs, they’ll do the same for us.

But the deal was never signed. The agreement was never said out-loud. We have expectations of what we hope will happen but they are only that – our expectations. Nobody can read our minds. And, more importantly, nobody can take care of us as well as we can take care of ourselves.

“Lily,” I said to her when she was grousing — again — about the towel situation. “I have an idea. Why don’t you just buy the silly towels?”

“But I want him to buy them for me,” she said.

Ah, so there’s the rub. (Pardon the towel pun – I couldn’t resist.)

“It doesn’t prove he loves you any less if you have to buy them for yourself,” I said. “And then you can get exactly what kind you want.”

I’m learning that I can wait and wait for someone to take care of me or I can take care of myself. And that’s the best kind of loving around.

NEWS FLASH: Lily bought the towels.  Big, white and fluffy. Just what she dreamed of.

Ask yourself: Is there something you want that you’re still waiting for someone else to get you? It could be something small – like a bouquet of Gerber daisies – or hiring a babysitter for a few hours so you have some free time for yourself. Smoky the Bear says: Only you can prevent the forest fires of expectations from burning a hole in your soul!

Coming up on Tuesday: my interview with Chevalier Noah Klieger – or, in plain English Knight Noah Klieger who was knighted a few weeks ago and talks about being a hero in life.

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About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is a writer living in northern Israel whose novel, A Remarkable Kindness, is forthcoming from HarperCollins in August. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, and other publications. Her first book, The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker) was nominated for a National Jewish Book Award.
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