I had to say good-bye to an old friend today. My friend was worn out. My friend had been part of my life for over 5 years. We got together once or twice a week during those five years. My friend went with me to work, to church, to meetings, and on a couple of dates with my wife. My friend was loyal and provided me with a certain level of comfort that no other friend really had before.
Tonight, I finally had to throw away my favorite pair of pants. I bought them four years ago at a Jos A. Bank’s store in Concordville, PA – I think. They were a pair of Tobacco colored Wrinkle Resistant Cotton Twill Pleated Front Pants, size 38 x 32. They had cuffs at the bottom and a seam in them that allowed them to be folded perfectly after every wash. No dry cleaner ever had the pleasure of touching these pants.
I wore them every week at least once a week. They weren’t very attractive pants. Baggy, pleated pants with cuffs went out of style a long time ago, but I still wore them. They were the anti-skinny pants/jeans. They looked good with a nice plaid shirt or a sweater. I probably sported a blazer and a nice tie with them once or twice. I even wore them to work in the yard a few times.
But tonight I had to throw them in the trash. They were starting to tear around the back pockets. My boxer shorts were apparently starting to show. The cuffs were frayed and torn in some places. There were holes in the legs along the seams at the bottom. One of the pockets had a hole in it. These weren’t a pair of pants that I could donate. They wouldn’t have made it past the clothes sorter at Goodwill. They would have ended up in a recycle pile or in the trash. I had to bite the bullet and throw them out once and for all. I didn’t need someone else to do my dirty work for me.
I’ve tried through the years to acquire another pair that fit the way these pants did. I have a closet full of various Jos. A. Bank pants that I’ve either purchased at the store here in Spartanburg or online. You know – the Buy 1, Get 2 Free deals. I’ve tried other brands too.
Banana Republic – too tight.
Polo – needed to be dry-cleaned; too fancy for an old-fashioned washing machine and dryer.
Chaps – to wrinkly and didn’t fold well after washing.
Izod – wrong shade.
LL Bean – too scratchy.
It’s been a struggle to say the least. I wear the same size pants today as I did four years ago, and yet I haven’t been able to find a pair of pants that wore like these.
I think all men and women understand where I’m coming from. We all have that favorite pair of pants or jeans. We all have that favorite shirt or baseball hat that we just can’t seem to get rid of. My wife still wears my very old Wofford College t-shirts to sleep in. I think they’re close to 17 years old. But they’re her favorite.
Some items hold a special place in our memory. I still have my first Montreal Canadiens hockey team hat that my granddad gave me when I was a teenager. I wore that hat to work almost everyday during the summers. It has faded from its original red to a kind of orange color now. The logo is frayed and the plastic clasp could break at any moment. It’s dirty and smells horrible, but it still fits me like it did when I was a teenager. I can’t wash it. It would probably fall apart. It’s hard to let go of things like that.
Life is full of interesting twists and turns. We all enjoy living comfortably. We all want stability in our home life and our work life. We all want to feel like what we do is fulfilling on a number of levels – intellectually, spiritually, emotionally. There are times though when the status quo becomes boring and unfulfilling. It’s during those times when making a change might be the best way to go.
Sometimes you just have to throw out that old pair of pants and start wearing another pair.
Doing that takes a certain level of courage and resolve. It also takes support and understanding from friends and loved ones. Finally, it takes finding the right situation or fit.
As I stood over the trash compactor and threw away my pants tonight, I thought to myself that I could wash them and wear them a few more times. But as I looked at them again, I realized that it was time to make that change. They didn’t fit anymore. It was time to move on.
RIP my favorite pants. It was a fun ride while it lasted.