Monday, September 19, 2016

Make an Omelet

Have you ever thought about the cliché warning “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”? Taken literally, that seems like terrible advice. Am I just supposed to carry 15 baskets back from my morning rounds of the chicken coop? Are these all normal sized baskets or is someone out there manufacturing baskets that hold 1-2 eggs a piece? Is it acceptable to put all of these smaller baskets into a larger basket for practicality’s sake? That seems like a nice loophole to me.

Of course, it is not meant to be taken literally. No one is gathering eggs from chicken coops these days. (Although, most people do still have some period of time in which their eggs reside in a grocery basket, and I have never seen someone toting a dozen of those around.) The actual advice is hidden inside the statement – you have to ponder it deeply before the reward of wisdom is bestowed upon you by the magical fairy godmother who hands out life lessons instead of shoes. Gee, thanks.

What it really means is you shouldn’t hang all your hopes on one thing. One goal. One outcome.

It’s pretty unrealistic, if you ask me. Speaking as someone who has spent most of her life pouring everything I could into one goal – medicine… sometimes there just isn’t room for a back-up basket. It would have been nice to have time, energy and freedom to develop other skills over the past 8 years. Between pre-med courses, volunteering, shadowing and then medical school and internship, it simply wasn’t an option.

Am I allowed to mix metaphors? This seems like an appropriate place for “if life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. But life didn’t give me lemons. I picked those lemons along the path that led me to where I am. Hand-selected each and every one of them, all big and yellow and lemony.  At some point they turned into eggs and I stuck them in my basket. And now I’ve got one basket full of eggs, just like I wasn’t supposed to do according to the crappy fairy godmother who does not traffic in glass slippers.

Tangentially, if you’re ever in the mood to pick lemons, it is important to realize that lemon trees have thorns. Rather large ones. This makes it exceptionally difficult to climb up into the tree where the lemons are. Also, If you make it far enough to come close to reaching a lemon and you use a shovel to bat it out of the tree in the direction of the ground, you will hit the person standing below you in the face with a lemon and split her lip. Even if that is not your goal – it just happens. In my limited experience with lemon picking, no one comes out unscathed.

So here's my moral: If you’ve put all your eggs in one basket and it turns out the basket isn’t one you want to carry anymore – dump it out and make omelets.

Example? This post. I could not think of anything to put on paper this morning… 30 minutes later, a lot of eggs have been stacked onto this rather pointless piece of literary rambling. No going back now, Enjoy your omelet.

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