July 2, 2003
“Life is too short. Eat dessert first.”
I am known for using this as a literal excuse when I want to snitch something yummy before meals. For some reason, it resonated with me from the very first time I heard it. I have hundreds and hundreds of quotes, many that say basically the same thing, but prettier. However, this is the one that sticks with me.
Everybody has dreams for “someday.” Someday you’ll do that elaborate counted cross-stitch picture. Someday you’ll learn to play the guitar. Someday you’ll landscape the yard. Someday you’ll get your house organized. Someday you’ll take that dream vacation.
Everybody knows that “babies don’t keep,” and most people can understand why making time for friends and family should be a priority, whether they manage to do so or not. I’m talking about personal fulfillment, things you want to do for you. Selfish things. The problem is, life has this habit of getting in the way, and the first things that fall by the wayside are the “selfish” things. “Selfish” is bad, anyway, isn’t it?
Not necessarily. Not when being selfish makes you a better, happier person. I’m not saying you should drop everything and dive into what you want to do for your own personal satisfaction to the detriment of your duties and responsibilities. I am saying you deserve to do some things for you. Maybe you don’t have time to become deeply involved in a project, but you can surely find time to start. You can start that cross-stitch picture now. Who cares if it takes five years to finish? If you never let yourself go ahead and start it, you’ll certainly never finish it. Can you fit in one guitar lesson a week? Can you plan out a new flowerbed, maybe start breaking ground some nice Saturday when you’d love an excuse to be outside anyway? Can you organize one cupboard? One drawer? Clean off one surface, maybe? Can you plan out your vacation instead of just daydreaming about it? Do you know what would be required? How much time you could take off? How much it would cost? Can you start a piggybank fund?
But you say you don’t have time. Think about it. “Eat dessert first” doesn’t mean you’re going to skip supper. It just means that you are rearranging your priorities. Dishes somehow manage to get done when you run out. It’s the same way with laundry. It will get done—but does it have to be done first? Are you sure you don’t have time to go sit out on the deck in the cool evening air before you do the supper dishes? You can always do the dishes after dark when the mosquitoes chase you back inside. And while you’re sitting outside… Why don’t you bring along that cross-stitch picture and do a few stitches?