No, this is not about the glories of a post-Thanksgiving cleanse, fast or detox. It’s a story of actual clogged pipes and what they taught me about my day-to-day life.

Let me back up. I live in a pre-war building. And like most things of a certain age, its infrastructure is not quite what it used to be. Throw in a few kids who put questionable things in the food disposal and voilà, you have a loudly burping, almost overflowing kitchen sink. So the plumber was called and now all’s well that ends well. Before he left, he said something interesting: “Every so often you have to perform some preventive maintenance. It saves a lot of time and misery later.”

“How wise,” I thought. How healthy and happy would we all be if we performed a little preventive maintenance in our lives, like saving or investing a few extra dollars every week. Or suppose we exercised a little restraint over the holidays so we don’t have to deal with January guilt. Or if we took a little time to learn a new skill, read a new author or spend a few minutes proactively addressing a small problem before it became a big one.

How would that make you feel? It doesn’t have to be a dramatic re-set. Just a tweak or two—baby steps, really—that get you closer to something you really, really want.

Preventive maintenance, my plumber called it.  Really, it's just another word for preserving your best { self }.