choosing chickens

Updated: Jan 23


You know when you're in a cab...and you end up having deep and soulful ponderings inspired by chickens?

I don’t know about you, but I constantly make lists of things that I want to remember to do "later". And then I either become a crazy person trying to get all of these piddly "important" things done, or I eventually, wracked with guilt, erase them from my list, knowing that they don't fit on my stove right now.

Is your back-burner as stuffed to the gills as mine is? Sadly, it seems to have endless space. If it didn’t, those “way back there” items would eventually move forward into the “now” purely out of necessity. But they don’t: That back-burner is like a Mary Poppins carpet bag.

On a recent Uber ride home, my young, very talkative driver said he was ready to move back to India after spending a mere seven months in New York. He talked about moving to New York and feeling guilty that he couldn’t send money back to his family. He said, “Don’t be shy, just work hard...I want to move back and do something for me.”

What did he want to do? He wanted to move back to India and be an organic chicken farmer. He was already sick of the grind and didn’t want to lose sight of his dreams. He had no time to lose.

How would you live if there was no time to lose?

I wouldn’t feel guilty for not sticking with things. In fact, I would have a lot less guilt and lot more joy. I would be 99% gratitude. (As a good friend once told me, “Never speak in absolutes.” Or, you know, almost never.)

Most people who know me see me as driven and someone who sets her mind on something and then does it. But I have also done a whole lot of just dipping my toes and walking away.

In college, I abandoned my dreams of theater after offering my spot in an overbooked Voice for Actors class to a theater major--partly because I was slightly out of my comfort zone. It is one of my few life regrets.

After my wedding this past July, I started a #30daysofgratitude on Facebook--which I ended a week later. I suppose I should have thanked two people a day, versus five. I kind of ran out of people and didn’t have it in me to commit to thanking every single guest, because that felt redundant at best and Facebook faux pas "let me share personal thank yous on social media rather than in a more meaningful way" at worst.

This past year, I started way more books than I finished. I also started a blogging website--and wrote a total of two posts before completely ignoring it for two months.

However, as Anne Lamott wrote in her book Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace, “Getting found almost always means being lost for a while.”

So I’m trying to be okay with feeling lost.

After all, I am week #4 into my Dream Job: Writing curriculum for advanced nutrition coaching courses. Exhibit A of “If you build it, they will come.” (Now go watch that movie again, right now, because it’s hands down one of the greatest “life is awesome” movies ever made.)

But back to the point at hand: If there was no time to lose...I would, in no particular order because this is what came to me in the moment:

  1. Not feel like I was wasting time, or not sticking with something because I “should”.

  2. Stop shoulding myself almost altogether.

  3. Feel less stressed about stupid shit.

  4. Try out for community theatre.

  5. Call more people when I thought of them, rather than adding them to my to-do list.

  6. Stop making so many to-do lists.

  7. Read more.

  8. Cook more.

  9. Play piano on a daily basis, because I love it so much.

  10. Reconnect with my clarinet embouchure. (You woodwind instrument players know what I’m talking about.)

  11. Drink more wine on a daily basis, because screw it: Life is short, and the eternal-life-giving Mediterranean diet includes boatloads of wine.

  12. Learn more about wine.

  13. Eat more chocolate.

  14. Spend more time getting guns, because I felt pretty much like Superwoman for the few months I had them a few years ago.

  15. Figure out how to meet Colin Firth, the #1 on my Top Five list.

  16. Travel more.

  17. Spend time with the elderly at a community home and write down their stories and laugh with them.

  18. Make a difference in the lives of children on the regular.

  19. Send more handwritten letters.

  20. Write more.

  21. Make things like those precious tea sandwiches with cucumbers in them.

  22. Go to bed even earlier than I do now, because my husband wouldn’t care that I didn’t want to watch one more episode of whatever before bed, because we had all the time in the world to watch another one tomorrow.

  23. Wake up by 6am every morning to watch the sunrise, because I felt well-rested and ready to take on the day because I went to bed so early the night before, so that I could enjoy the magical quiet solitude of early morning.

  24. Always have unchipped nail polish.

  25. Get more fantastic massages.

  26. Go to more theatrical productions.

  27. Be a full-time student whilst making bank, so that I could always afford things like fantastic massages and theatrical productions.

  28. Volunteer weekly.

  29. Be a story lady at the local children’s library.

  30. Train for some kind of athletic event, just to add it to my eclectic bucket list--and to see what my body is capable of.

  31. Take all kinds of languages to the point of fluency.

  32. Learn more crafting skills.

  33. Learn how to sew.

  34. Take more baths.

  35. Take longer putting on lotion every morning, as a gesture of gratitude to my body for doing all that it does for me on a daily basis.

  36. Never feel like I was out of touch with anyone I cared about, because I would have infinite time for connecting with all of them.

  37. Have on my resume some big-shot position where I managed tons of people--again, just to check it off my bucket list and have "done it all".

  38. Become an Instagram sensation.

No, not really that last one. I don’t think I would want to spend time doing that, even if I had all the time in the world.

If there was no time to lose, I would do a lot of things.

But, then again, I can still do a lot of things. And I have. And I will keep on doing so.

Because, after all, there really is no time to lose.

Cheers, and until soon ~

#values #nycwriter #cab #goals #dreams #bucketlist

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